In an unexpected development, P Elango, interim CEO and whole-time director of Cairn India, the operator of the country’s biggest on-land oilfield, quit the firm citing ‘personal reasons’. The 53-year-old executive’s exit from the Vedanta Group company came at a time he was spearheading a $3-billion programme to increase production from the firm’s flagship Barmer fields in Rajasthan.
Only recently, Elango initiated a discussion with the government to allow Cairn to swap and export crude oil produced from Rajasthan, which could fetch the company a better price, and to extend the contract of the field to 2030.
Under Elango’s leadership, Cairn delivered 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the Rajasthan block and achieved record levels of financial revenue and profitability, the company told stock exchanges.
Elango joined the company in 1996 and was elevated to the post of interim chief executive in 2012 after then managing director and chief executive Rahul Dhir decided to move on from the firm.
Industry watchers were curious why Elango was never appointed full-time CEO.
With Elango's exit, Cairn India's top management has had a complete overhaul after the firm was acquired for $8.67 billion by the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Resources in December 2011.
It could not be immediately known when Elango will indeed move out, given the assignments at hand. He couldn't be reached for comments. People close to the executive said he may be spending some time in Chennai before setting out on a new assignment.
Cairn India said that current CFO Sudhir Mathur has taken over the additional responsibility of leading the organisation in the interim. Vedanta Resources CEO Tom Albanese and Mike Yeager, chairman,operations review board, Cairn India, will continue to work closely with the leadership team in managing the business under the guidance of the board.
Mathur joined Cairn India from Aircel, while Yeager, former oil CEO of BHP Billiton, has also worked with ExxonMobil and the United States Marine Corps.
Over the past few years the oil producer has seen several key management officials leaving the company. The latest apart from Elango's exit was in February this year, when Sundeep Bhandari, one of the pioneers of Cairn India and chairman of the corporate advisory board, decided to leave.
The resignation saga started when in June 2011 Rick Bott, executive director and chief operating officer left, followed by Indrajit Banerjee, executive director and chief financial officer in August 2011.
Dhir, who was a top-notch investment banker