Essar slashes staff numbers as work dries up

Vol 19, PW 4 (22 Oct 15) People & Policy

At least a thousand employees have quit or been asked to leave Mumbai-based multinational Essar Group over the last year as EPC orders have dried up because of the depressed oil price.

Essar is re-organising its EPC business arms Essar Projects and Essar Offshore Subsea to cut costs and look for overseas assignments. “Essar Projects earlier had five special business units, each with its own CEO, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer,” says a former employee.

“These layers have now been abolished and replaced by the overseas and domestic business units.” Most recently, Sunil Jain, chief marketing officer Essar Projects, quit in early October soon after 40 staff were shifted in September from the Equinox Business Park office in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla business district to the Essar Heavy Engineering Services office at Hazira in Gujarat.

“One year ago Essar Projects had 1200 people,” says another former employee. “Now it’s down to around 200.

” Around February-March, 200 workers were asked to leave as the company had few new domestic orders. Sometime in July, another 100 staff at Essar Offshore Subsea were also asked to leave.

Some say the changes were triggered by the resignation of Essar Projects CEO and president Alwyn Bowden, who had been with the company since 2008 but was replaced in April by Shiba Panda, formerly director general at Anglo-Swiss commodity trading and mining company Glencore. Bowden is now an advisor to Essar Projects.

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