IFS officer Sunjay Sudhir fails to win OVL job

Vol 22, PW 8 (07 Feb 19) People & Policy

Most people would be happy to go to the Maldives with its sun swept beaches.

But not Sunjay Sudhir; he would have preferred to become managing director of OVL. Oil industry whispers suggest Sudhir, joint secretary international co-operation, lobbied hard to replace NK Verma who retired as OVL chief on January 31.

Instead Sudhir was appointed ambassador to tropical island nation Maldives on January 28. His disappointment was palpable during a January 30 meeting of OVL's board on which he is the government nominee.

According to a source present, ONGC chairman Shashi Shanker, who chaired the meeting, began by saying: "We're going to lose two big people." Everybody knew of NK Verma’s retirement but were surprised to hear of Sudhir's transfer to the Maldives.

"Sudhir was very low key during the meeting," we hear. "He barely participated in the discussion and his body language showed he was unhappy."

Tiny Maldives in the Indian Ocean is considered an insignificant post compared to plush transfers to missions in the US or Europe by Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers. Many believe Sudhir will continue to pitch for the OVL top job so he can stay on in Delhi.

When contacted, Sudhir said: "Where have you heard all this from? Don’t waste my time! I do not respond to gossip. Yes the OVL managing director is an important position but I have been appointed India’s ambassador to the Maldives."