DK Sarraf's radical overhaul of ONGC work culture

Vol 17, PW 19 (08 May 14) People & Policy

He took charge only two months ago on March 1st but ONGC chairman DK is already winning praise for speeding up decision making.

One of his first orders was to double the spending power of basin and asset managers. Assam and Mumbai asset managers can now spend up to Rs50cr ($8.3m) without approval from bosses, up from Rs25cr ($4.2m) earlier.

At other assets like the KG, Kerala Konkan basins or at the Ahmedabad asset, managers can now spend up to Rs30cr ($5m) - up from Rs15cr ($2.5m) before. "Sarraf has empowered basin and assets managers to free up senior officials," says an ONGC executive director.

"Rs15cr is a small amount; small contracts cost more than this and managers had to get approval from directors, creating delays." Sarraf has also asked directors to clear as many files as possible without seeking his approval. Officers are also happy to be wasting less time on conference calls.

"Often, we'd wait hours for conference calls, and then they didn't even take place," says another ONGC source. "We'd waste our whole day like this." Conference calls now begin on time and decisions aren't delayed.

"Earlier it would take five to seven months to get approvals on each project," we hear. "Now we get approvals after one or two conference calls." Sarraf is scheduled to visit Baroda and Kakinada this month as part of his plan to visit all ONGC assets.

He visited the company's Mumbai asset in March.