Essar Oil gets new managing director

Vol 4, PW 17 (27 Sep 00) People & Policy

The Ruia family, which controls Mumbai-based Essar Oil, has appointed Jagdeesh Mehta, former managing director of Mangalore refinery, to replace RK Sukdevsinhji.

The changeover took effect on September 11th. Sukdevsinhji, aged 67, remains on the board as a director.

Mehta, aged 58, has been poached from the Aditya Birla-Hindustan Petroleum joint venture Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals, where he was managing director. Mehta is a law graduate and has no technical qualifications in petroleum or petrochemicals.

Essar sources stress his biggest asset is his successful implementation of the Mangalore refinery project, which he oversaw. "He was involved in all the stages of the refinery," reveals a source, "From land acquisition to setting up the 3m t/y unit and then its expansion to 9m tonnes." Adds the source: "He is ideal for us." Mehta was a Birla nominee in the Mangalore refinery joint venture.

Prior to joining Mangalore refinery, Mehta was managing director of National Rayon Corporation, also a Birla company. Mehta's first priority is to resume construction of Essar's stalled 10.5m t/y refinery at Vadinar.

The project has achieved financial closure, and Essar expects to resume construction by the end of September. "More than half the work is completed," adds a source, "Remaining equipment is at the site or in the docks awaiting installation." Essar expects to complete work within 18 months of resuming construction.

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