Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Mar 28, 2002
Corporate - Announcements
Saldanha quits as Haldia Petro MD
KOLKATA, March 27
MR Richard B. Saldanha, Managing Director of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, has resigned from his post. The board has accepted his resignation.
Confirming this development, Mr Saldanha said his resignation would take effect from May 1. He is slated to join the Bennett Coleman group in a senior capacity.
It may be mentioned that Mr Saldanha, who was earlier with Unilever Peru, had wanted to resign earlier in September 2001, citing personal reasons.
However, insiders had then told Business Line that he was upset over the impact the lack of consensus among the promoters was having on HPL, which was otherwise a good company. His letter was not even placed before the board and Mr Tarun Das, the CII Chairman, who had just been brought into HPL, played a role in persuading Mr Saldanha to change his mind.
This time round, Mr Saldanha's resignation coincides with the HPL board's decision to hand over management control to IOC. Mr Saldanha said he was quitting his post to pave the way for a seamless transition.
Selected to head the HPL management team in 1999 by Mr Purnendu Chatterjee, HPL's key promoter, Mr Saldanha quit his post in Peru to join HPL as MD-designate. He took over from the then MD, Mr A. Krishnamurthy, in October 2000.
Indications are that the imminent entry of IOC is not the only reason behind Mr Saldanha's decision. It was more the result of a build-up of tension at the top level - specifically between Mr Saldanha and the TCG group - even as he enjoyed the fullest confidence of Mr Chatterjee.
However, corporate watchers felt that Mr Saldanha's timing was just right, as IOC would naturally like to have its own man in the top job. A reconstitution of the board was likely.
The developments - the IOC issue as well as the MD quitting - have caught HPL employees by surprise. In fact, yesterday, after the key board meeting (where the IOC issue was resolved), he spent some time with his senior executives discussing policy matters pertaining to personnel and finance.
Announcing the IOC decision to HPL employees, the outgoing MD said the company was now poised to climb greater heights, as the alliance with the oil major would provide HPL enhanced credit-worthiness and better synergy. He, however, chose not to elaborate on his decision beyond saying that he would lay down office of "this great organisation" with effect from May 1.
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