Vol 3, PW 13 (24 Jul 99) People & Policy

At Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the on-going rivalry between Subir Raha, Director Human Resources, and Onkar Nath Marwah, Director Marketing, shows no sign of abating.

In a back issue of Petrowatch (PW/Vol3/Issue11-21-PROBLEMS ON THE BOARD OF INDIAN OIL CORPORATION) we reported on a clash of wills between the two men over a tender for some IT equipment. In that battle, Marwah lost.

Now Petrowatch learns the two men are engaged in a fierce boardroom battle over another issue: the retirement age of IOC employees. In May 1998, the Indian government unilaterally declared that the retirement age of its 480,000 government employees would be raised from 58 to 60.

Most oil companies, including IOC and ONGC, followed suit, but have since regretted their decision and are now trying to revert to the 58-year ceiling. At IOC, boardroom approval is required first.

Raha, the younger of the two directors, insists the age of superannuation should be reverted back to 58 as this would keep the age profile of the company young, and give it the "required dynamism" to compete in a future deregulated market. Not surprisingly, Marwah, disagrees.

He wants the retirement age to stay at 60, "so that the company can draw on the rich experience of senior staff members". Both directors are driven by their own personal agenda.

At 52, Raha, wants all his seniors to depart so he can occupy the chairmans chair. Both Marwah and Chairman Mohammed Pathan are around 58.

If the retirement age is brought back down to 58, they would have to leave immediately.