Incoming Gujarat Gas chief rejects smear allegations

Vol 6, PW 20 (04 Dec 02) People & Policy

SHANTHA RAJU, the incoming managing director of British Gas subsidiary Gujarat Gas, has hit back at critics who accuse him of not being up to the job.

Originally from Bangalore, Raju, 45, is the target of an anonymous whispering campaign carried out by the suspiciously named and previously unheard of Gujarat Association. In its mail, the association writes that British Gas, "has made a major mistake" appointing Raju because he is "a career finance person with negligible knowledge of the hydrocarbon sector." According to the mail, Raju's appointment "augurs disaster" for the company because he has "never visited a gas pipeline" nor does he have "any contacts with the bureaucracy in Gujarat or in the hydrocarbon sector".

Contacted by PETROWATCH, Raju rejects the criticism as "baseless" disinformation. "Soon after I joined British Gas, I went to the Niko platform at Hazira to see the source of our gas.

I also went to Surat, Ankleshwar and other places to see our pipelines." Raju contends that in his last job he was head of SmithKline Beecham's Bangladesh operation for two years. "In that position I dealt with the local bureaucracy and political system.

SmithKline Beecham was a single product company in Bangladesh but by the time I left I had introduced five more products." He adds: "I am a cost and management accountant by training, but I am not just a money counter." Raju has been a Gujarat Gas director since he joined BG. "For the past one and a half years I've been closely involved in all the strategic issues facing Gujarat Gas, our LNG project and our exploration business." Raju is set to replace Robert Thomas as Gujarat Gas director in March 2003.