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Vedanta Cairn Oil & Gas strengthens its leadership team to drive its Growth Plan, Excellence and Innovation


by Suman Gupta

Sudhir Mathur: CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

Suniti Bhat: COO (Chief Operating Officer)

Pankaj Kalra: CFO (Chief Financial Officer)

Sharad Goenka: CSPO (Chief Strategy & Policy Officer)

Cairn, Oil & Gas vertical of Vedanta Limited has announced the strengthening of its leadership team. This is a strategic move to empower the core leadership to take key decisions and drive excellence and innovation. The role of the following four seasoned leaders have been enhanced as they are entrusted with new targets and opportunities to drive Cairn to the next phase of growth and enable the company’s vision to contribute 50% of India’s crude oil & gas production.

Cairn is at an inflection point in its journey of growth with 5 fast-track projects and investments of over $ 1 billion in the next 18 – 20 months which are expected to yield about 100,000 barrels of oil and gas per day. The company plans to undertake exploration drilling in its Krishna Godavari Block in 2018 and has also put in Expressions of Interest for 15 exploration blocks under the Government’s new Open Acreage Licensing Policy. With a target of eventually producing 500,000 barrels per day, Cairn will be a key contributor to economic prosperity and independence for India in the natural resources sector.

Mr. Sudhir Mathur, who was earlier the acting CEO and CFO will now take the responsibility of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Cairn Oil & Gas. He has been an expert in the oil and gas sector. Mr. Mathur graduated in Economics from Delhi University and has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Cornell University. He has been associated with Cairn for almost 5 years. He has substantial expertise, knowledge and experience in several key areas of Strategy, Finance & Commercial, Management and Regulatory Affairs. His skill set and robust experience is expected to help Cairn to understand the full potential of the Barmer Block, grow the offshore business and build a strong organization to deliver to the projected growth while continuing active engagement with all key stakeholders. He will play a key role in strategically driving the next wave of growth at Cairn.

Mr. Suniti Bhat, who was earlier Director of Oil and Gas will now resume in the role of Chief Operating Officer, Cairn Oil & Gas. He is a master’s degree holder in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University and went through special management training/programme from Harvard Business School. He has been associated with Cairn for over 8 years and has over 20 years of international experience in the oil and gas industry. He has led the successful implementation of the world’s largest polymer flooding project at the Mangala field, India’s largest onshore oil discovery. Mr. Bhat’s role will be towards executing growth projects through an integrated model to deliver production of 300 kboepd in the short term and 500 kboepd in the future. This target will be achieved while rejuvenating the focus on health and safety. He will continue to focus on maintaining the operating costs to benchmark levels of $5 per barrel.

Mr. Pankaj Kalra, Deputy CFO has been elevated to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Cairn Oil & Gas from the position of Deputy CFO. He has over 19 years of experience in corporate financing and has been associated with Cairn India since 2014. He will be heading the finance, procurement and IT functions at Cairn. He is leading the group level digitalization and has added significant value in overseeing the investment portfolio for the group. He will also act as a value integrator who will focus on understanding and maintaining the free cash flows. He will also look after the digitalization initiatives while enhancing governance and communication.

Sharad R. Goenka has been elevated as Chief Strategy & Policy Officer from his earlier role as Head – New Business. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and an Engineering degree from IIT Bombay.  At Cairn since 2011, Sharad has successively had several leadership roles across functions and has made significant contributions to the organisation in the areas of growth strategy, operations management and cost effectiveness.  Prior to Cairn, Sharad was a Private Equity Investment professional at 3i Plc in UK and had a progressive career at Schlumberger across Asia, North America and Africa. In this critical leadership role, Sharad will be responsible for developing and driving strategic corporate initiatives and in engaging with internal and external stakeholders on policy. His rich global experience from diverse roles will be pivotal in unlocking value beyond production and execution of growth projects.

Speaking on the development, Kuldip Kaura, Interim CEO, Vedanta Limited said, “It gives us immense pleasure to strengthen and develop Cairn’s leadership team for the next wave of growth. I would like to congratulate them and wish them the best at the onset of this new endeavor. This move will also be pivotal in our pursuit of excellence as a corporate citizen and as a key contributor to natural resource and energy security of India. India has tremendous untapped resource potential and we look forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to unlock value and enable the Prime Minister’s vision of fuel access, reduced imports and increased domestic production”

About Cairn Oil and Gas : Cairn, Oil & Gas vertical of Vedanta Limited operates 27% of India’s domestic crude oil production. It has a world-class resource base, with interest in seven blocks including six in India and one in South Africa. Its focus on India has resulted in a significant number of oil and gas discoveries. Cairn made a major oil discovery (Mangala) in Rajasthan in the north west of India at the beginning of 2004. To date, 38 discoveries have been made in the Rajasthan block RJ-ON-90/1.

Vedanta Limited is a diversified natural resources company, whose business primarily involves producing oil & gas, zinc – lead – silver, copper, iron ore, aluminum and commercial power. The company has a presence across India, South Africa, Namibia, Australia and Ireland.

Vedanta Limited is the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, a London-listed company. Governance and Sustainable Development are at the core of Vedanta’s strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety and environment and on enhancing the lives of local communities. The company is conferred with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) ‘Sustainable plus Platinum label’, ranking among the top 10 most sustainable companies in India. To access the Vedanta Sustainable Development Report 2016, please visit


Vedanta Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange in India and has ADRs listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

For more information please visit www.vedantalimited.com

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