Whispers of possible 3-month Sarraf extension

Vol 20, PW 25 (07 Sep 17) People & Policy

Whispers are circulating that DK Sarraf is lobbying for a three-month extension as ONGC chairman beyond September 30.

This could spell trouble for incoming chairman Shashi Shanker who received anti-corruption clearance mid-July after his name was recommended for the chairman post by the PESB on June 19. Why does Sarraf want the extension? A source suggests the most plausible explanation is he wants to complete the integration of GSPC's eastern offshore shallow water block KG-OSN-2001/3 with ONGC's assets and to push through ONGC's government-promoted merger with refiner Hindustan Petroleum.

But some can't help notice that if Sarraf stays till end-December it might scuttle Shanker's chances of replacing him; his five-year term as director technology and field services ends on November 30. If Shankar is not appointed as ONGC chairman and fails to get an extension as director, he will return to his previous position as Group General Manager (GGM).

If that happens expect a nightmare scenario where Shanker might not even make the list of eight ONGC candidates were fresh PESB interviews to be held. "There are enough (higher ranking) Executive Directors (from ONGC)," we hear.

"Officers ranked lower (GGMs) will have no chance." Some say all is not lost for Shanker. Former chairman Sudhir Vasudeva waited nine months after his PESB selection to be formally appointed ONGC chairman.

As ever, the final decision rests with Narendra Modi.

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