Misra's challenge is to fill empty seats at ONGC

Vol 17, PW 13 (13 Feb 14) People & Policy

DD Misra’s biggest challenge if and when confirmed as ONGC’s new director human resources will be to attract new talent to a company beset by a staff exodus and old age.

Misra beat six senior colleagues to replace KS Jamestin (who retires on July 31) when he joined 15 others for PESB interviews on February 7. “Nobody expected Misra to win,” says a surprised ONGC source.

“Even though Vasudeva supported him.” Exactly 6105 officers, mainly engineers and geo-scientists, at ONGC are scheduled to retire by 2017, according to internal ONGC figures.

To fill the chronic staffing gap, ONGC last September began the process of recruiting 1000 graduates to its trainee scheme, but the process has stalled because senior management don’t think it is a priority and are finding no time to sign off on the formalities needed to kick-start the programme. Mishra must also deal with low employee morale: bonuses were cut this year and December promotions delayed.

Colleagues describe Mishra as “professional” and “diligent” but say he is risk averse. Misra admits surprise at his selection and laughs off criticism about his lack of initiative.

“Thank you for your feedback," he tells us. "I will certainly address this issue!” Misra joined ONGC in 1985 and is now general manager and head of corporate administration at the company’s headquarters in Dehradun.