Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Feb 21, 2002
IBP's Mathur hangs up his boots sans regrets
KOLKATA, Feb. 20
MR S.N. Mathur, who resigned as the Chairman and Managing Director of IBP Co Ltd, now a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), is a much relaxed man today.
"For the past one year or so, I have been trying hard to ensure the smooth disinvestment of IBP stake, and now that the process is over to the satisfaction of all concerned, I really feel relieved and happy,'' Mr Mathur observed, while talking to Business Line over phone from his New Delhi residence.
Why did he then choose to resign at such a happy moment, one might wonder.
"I was the CMD of an independent oil company and therefore could not work as the managing director of a subsidiary reporting to the chairman of another oil company,'' he said, adding, "perhaps, I could have been offered the CMD's position in IBP under the new dispensation, but that did not happen,'' he said.
Mr Mathur has decided to resign also as the chairman of two other companies, namely, Balmer Lawrie and Biecco Lawrie.
"I am the chairman of these two companies by virtue of my being the CMD of IBP and since I am no longer in IBP, it is not proper for me to continue in these positions,'' he said, and pointed out that these two companies in any case had independent managing directors and he was only the part-time chairman.
But then Mr Mathur has no complaints. He has been given a handsome retirement package as per the contract.
More important, his name figures among the six candidates short-listed for the position of CMD in three public sector oil companies, namely, IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
Does he stand a better chance of being selected as the CMD of HPCL where he was once a director?.
"Let us see what happens. After all, I am the senior most of the six in the panel,'' he said.
The former IBP chief declined to comment on whether or not IOC had paid a "very high'' price for acquiring the Government's stake in IBP.
Mr Mathur expressed his apprehension over three areas. First, the new owner of IBP would in all likelihood hive off the company's chemical and engineering divisions, currently suffering a loss of about Rs 25 crore annually.
Second, at several places where both IOC and IBP have depots, IBP's depots might be closed down, and finally, IBP's head office might be shifted out of Kolkata which, he felt, must be resisted.
The shifting would take place because, sooner or later, IBP would lose its subsidiary status and be merged into IOC.
About his next move, Mr Mathur said he would be going on a vacation for at least a month.
"For over a year now I have worked hard and now I need some rest,'' he said, adding, "I have not seen my grandson who was born in December last, and therefore, I'm going to the US shortly to be with him. Everything else can wait,'' he said.
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