Essar senior staff prepare for Russian takeover

Vol 20, PW 13 (23 Mar 17) People & Policy

Essar Oil managing director LK Gupta and its Vadinar-based director refineries C.

Manoharan will soon have to get used to dealing with autocratic Russian bosses when they join Rosneft. Headed by Vladimir Putin's close ally and 'de-facto deputy' Igor Sechin, Rosneft is expected to formally take control of the 405,000 b/d Vadinar refinery by March 31 under a $12.9bn cash deal signed last October.

Along with Gupta and Manoharan, more than 500 key refinery workers are likely to be kept on by Rosneft. They better be prepared for a formal business style, meetings with stony-faced and silent Russian colleagues who mostly use non-verbal cues, and an emphasis on power and social status within a strict hierarchy.

"Gupta and Manoharan are the key personnel looking after the day to day running of the refinery," says a senior Essar source. "They will have to do the hand holding for the new owners at least until the new management settles in." Neither Rosneft nor its partners Trafigura and United Capital Partners appear in any hurry to flood the refinery with their own people.

"Later they may have a separate India chief but may not disturb anything at the local level," we hear. Also all key senior vice-president and general manager level personnel manning the refinery are likely to be kept on.