Diwali gift for Rajesh Kakkar in ONGC dir. race

Vol 21, PW 3 (02 Nov 17) People & Policy

Rajesh Kakkar, ONGC executive director in charge of the Mumbai High, has beaten his colleagues AJ Morbale and SK Moitra to win the coveted director offshore position.

On October 18 the PESB recommended Kakkar's name to head operations at ONGC's offshore acreage, which accounts for nearly 70% of ONGC's total 20.886m t/y (equivalent 391,465 b/d) oil production, if you go by ONGC's results announcement released on October 29. If and when mandatory approvals come in, Kakkar can be expected to take charge in January 2018.

"Kakkar's selection is a surprise!" admits an ONGC source. "(Bassein asset manager) Moitra and (Neelam asset manager) Morbale were seen as the main contenders." One of Moitra's colleagues fears his headstrong nature might have counted against him.

"Moitra takes tough decisions," he says. "Sometimes that quality goes against you." Our source adds this is especially the case under the current Narendra Modi government which is quick to stamp out dissenting voices.

Morbale too, add sources, might have been side-lined because he is too direct and speaks his mind. All is not lost for Morbale however.

He still stands a chance for the director onshore or director technology and field services positions that are both open. Kakkar replaces TK Sengupta who has held the post since February 1, 2014 and retires on December 31.

"Kakkar is lucky," adds our ONGC source. "He was recommended for the post on Diwali (the Hindu festival of lights)."

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