BC Tripathi's new Essar role surprises everyone

Vol 23, PW 5 (16 Jan 20) People & Policy

Ex-GAIL chairman BC Tripathi has joined Mumbai-based Essar Services India Pvt Ltd as its new Chairman - Exploration & Production.

Tripathi's exact date of joining Essar is unclear, but it's believed to have been in late December (2019). What is clear is Essar has allocated him SAP Code 40002373 on its internal system.

Based at Essar HQ at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai, Tripathi’s decision to join a private sector company so soon after he stepped down as CMD of state-owned GAIL on July 31 (2019) August 1 has prompted surprise. "Tripathi was in a downstream company his entire life," exclaims a GAIL source.

"Why has he been been appointed chairman of an upstream sector company?" Another source counters that Tripathi’s renowned networking skills helped him secure the Essar position. "In this industry it’s all about networking," he says.

"His appointment doesn't surprise me at all, people with good networking skills can get any position they want." Others are surprised Tripathi was allowed to join a private sector firm before completing the mandatory one-year 'cooling off' period expected of retired PSU directors and chairmen.

But another GAIL source counters that Tripathi left GAIL aged 59 - six months before the official public sector retirement age. "Only if he had retired from the company aged 60 is a 'cooling off' period needed," he said.

"He had to resign (from GAIL) so no 'cooling off' period was needed."