On a day Essar Oil’s ownership changed hands following conclusion of $12.9 billion stake sale, new promoters Rosneft and consortium Trafigura-UCP consortium moved fast to pack board and management with their own representatives, which led to resignation of chief executive officer Lalit K Gupta who has been holding the post six year .
Prashant S Ruia, who represented the promoter Ruia family, too exited the board of Essar Oil after the stake sale. So did Suresh Jain, Director (Finance).
The outgoing board had nine members, including Chairman Prashant S Ruia. It had three other executive directors in Gupta, Jain and Chakrapany Manoharan, Director (Refinery).
The new management has retained Manoharan. Independent directors Dilip J Thakkar and KN Venkatsubramanian have also been retained and so has nominee of LIC, R Sudarsan.
Gupta has been replaced B Anand, who was chief financial officer of Trafigura India Pvt Ltd since 2012. Tony Fountain, and ex-Reliance Industries executive, would be the Chairman of Essar Oil Ltd nominee of UCP.
A statement issued by Essar Oil under its new management did not mention Gupta’s resignation but said he “will remain with the company as a senior adviser to the Management Board to support future growth plans and bring his considerable experience in the sector.”
On the 12-member board, Rosneft would have four nominee directors and UCP two, including Fountain. Trafigura would have two nominee directors (CEO is not part of the board).
“The 12-strong board includes senior representatives from the international investors, senior management from EOL, and independent directors,” the statement said.
The new board will be chaired by Fountain who brings 30 years of industry experience having held senior roles with BP, with Reliance Industries in India and currently with the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and ATCO, one of Canada’s major energy companies.
“Strengthening Essar Oil Ltd’s balance sheet will be the first priority, a process we have already started by closing this transaction,” Fountain said.
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