Failure to extend Rajasthan PSC fells Elango

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

Several theories are circulating about why Pandarinathan Elango suddenly quit Cairn India as interim CEO on May 2.

Some are suggesting it’s because Vedanta Resources boss and Cairn owner Anil Agarwal was upset with Elango’s failure to convince the government to extend the PSC at Rajasthan block RJ-ON-90/1 by 10-years. Elango had been chasing the ministry for over a year.

“Cairn submitted a proposal to the ministry for the 10-year extension,” says an industry source. “But the DGH told it to take partner ONGC’s approval and submit a joint proposal.

ONGC said it’s too early to apply for an extension as the PSC is ending in 2020.” Others link Elango’s departure with Cairn’s reluctance to confirm him as CEO.

“Elango was expecting a formal announcement appointing him as CEO at the last board meeting on April 23,” says a Cairn source. “But he was disappointed.

He showed his disappointment to the Agarwal family as well and decided to quit.” A friend of Elango from his ONGC days says his relationship with the Agarwal family was far from smooth for quite a long time.

“After leaving ONGC in January 1996 Elango joined Cairn when it still had the culture of a multinational company,” he says. So when Indian-born Agarwal began running the company like a family business, Elango found it difficult to adapt to the new culture.

Elango was unavailable for comment.

LNG Summit