HOEC shareholders to confirm Atul Gupta as new MD

Vol 10, PW 10 (07 Sep 06) People & Policy

Hindustan Oil Exploration (HOEC) shareholders are set to approve Burren Energy operations director Atul Gupta as the companys new Managing Director at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Baroda on 28th September.

Gupta, aged 46, will retain his position as Chief Operating Officer and director on the board of UK-listed Burren Energy. Last year, Burren acquired a 26% stake in HOEC from Unocal a move vigorously (but unsuccessfully) contested by partner shareholder UK-based Hardy Oil & Gas, which holds 8.5% of HOEC.

Ill be wearing two hats, Gupta tells PETROWATCH. As a (Burren) shareholder in HOEC and as its new MD.

Does he foresee any conflict of interest Only in time, says Gupta. Ill be doing double the work.

Guptas (unpaid) appointment as MD at HOEC is for two years. He has no plans to move to India and will continue to live in the UK and work from Burrens London office in The Strand.

Ill focus on the strategic growth of HOEC, he adds. I see lots of opportunities for HOEC in India and abroad.

Manish Maheshwari, Chief Financial Officer at HOEC, has been promoted as joint Managing Director to work alongside Gupta and will carry out day-to-day management of HOEC in India. Maheshwari, who was close to former MD Rakesh Jain, is being groomed to replace Gupta should he decide to step down before his two-year term ends.

Gupta is determined to leverage HOECs growing expertise as an operator. We operate six of the eight licences we hold in India, he says.

I want to see HOEC improve on that. Gupta travels to India five or six times a year for board meetings, typically to Baroda, where the company is registered, or to its new office in Chennai.

But his visits are set to increase in his new role scouting for opportunities. Gupta confirms that Burren is taking a close look at NELP-VI acreage and does not rule out a possible bid, either alone, or jointly with HOEC.

Gupta next visits India for a HOEC board meeting at Baroda held alongside the AGM on 28th September.