Race for new ONGC director exploration

Vol 3, PW 17 (15 Sep 99) People & Policy

The race is on to replace TK Gopalaswamy as Director Exploration at ONGC, following his abrupt decision to quit ONGC two years ahead of time.

Between 12-14 candidates are expected to file applications for the job. The winner will be announced when the new government takes it position after elections.

It is a tradition at ONGC that only geologists can assume the post of Director Exploration. This leaves three candidates with the strongest chance of winning.

They are: DR Ghosh, General Manager, presently in charge of coordinating ONGCs deepwater exploration drive in the Krishna Godavari, who sits in Mumbai; Debarata Ray, General Manager, Exploration Contracts Monitoring (EXCOM), responsible for all ONGC contracts with overseas oil companies, who sits in Delhi; and YB Sinha, General Manager, Exploration & Development Directorate, responsible for setting ONGCs exploration agenda at Dehra Dun. This report learns Gopalaswamys decision to retire has more to do with his disillusionment with government policy towards ONGC than with any job offer from a multinational.

It is learnt he resents attempts by the oil ministry to force him to hire what he regards as unsuitable Indian service contractors for ONGC work. The identity of these service contractors is not known.

Gopalaswamy has also told colleagues he had mentally prepared himself for retirement at 58, and was disappointed when the government raised the retirement age for government employees to 60.

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