Is all well at EESL? MD Rajat Kumar Sud sacked after Executive VC’s resignation

New Delhi: Is all well with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL)? A company that is running the world’s largest domestic lighting programme has seen back-to-back resignation and removal of two of its top decision-makers. Managing Director of EESL Rajat Kumar Sud has reportedly been sacked from his post within a year of taking charge. Business news portal LiveMint has reported that it has accessed a September 17 communication sent to Rajat Sud from EESL that says, "In terms of clause 7(a) of standard terms and conditions of your offer of appointment, your services from EESL are terminated with immediate effect. In lieu of the notice period, one (01) month, notice pay shall be paid to you."

EESL's Executive Vice Chairman Saurabh Kumar had resigned on September 14 on personal grounds.

The second axis, Rajat Kumar Sud

Sud is an alumnus of St. Edward's School. He is an engineering graduate (BE in Electronics & Telecommunication) from Shri Govindram Seksaria Institute of Technology and Science (SGSITS), Indore. He also holds a post-graduate diploma in management (Strategy) from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

He has 29 years of experience in the fields of energy sector restructuring, performance improvement, business strategy and acquisitions. He has led transformational reforms and restructuring programmes – leading to structural change and dramatic performance improvement in the electricity industry. Prior to joining Sterlite Power, he had served Lumeni Consulting, Korn Ferry, Siemens (SISL), PwC and NTPC Limited.

Rajat Sud had taken over as MD of EESL a year ago on September 23, 2020. He had taken over the post after EESL's Director (Commercial) S Gopal, who had been given an additional charge as Interim Managing Director after Saurabh Kumar's term ended in August 2020.

The first axis, Saurabh Kumar

Later, Saurabh Kumar became EESL's Executive Vice Chairman. He was rewarded for successfully running the Ujala scheme that replaced traditional electricity bulbs and tube lights with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs in almost every household in India. Under the scheme, EESL distributed over 37 crores of LED bulbs. Saurabh Kumar also played an important role in rolling out the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (Fame) scheme of the government. However, the elevation of Kumar created two power centres within EESL that resulted in the unexpected exit of both the heads within one year.

Sources say that all is not well within EESL and the situation had been simmering for the past year since Sud took over as MD. Saurabh Kumar, in an interview given to ET post his resignation on September 16, had said, “It has been brewing for a while” since he was elevated and kept away from day-to-day affairs. “I built it up, found new leadership and that’s it. It is a professional decision on both sides. I didn’t see any value that I would be creating any longer,” Kumar had told ET.

“I have been here for eight-and-a-half years. The structure has changed where my role has become more of a custodian. I was not looking at day-to-day affairs. I have been discussing this with promoters and the ministry that I really don’t need to be here,” he had said.

EESL is now headless

Saurabh Kumar, who made headlines for the first high-profile exit from the company, plans to take a pause for a month or two and will then be looking at the private sector. Rajat Sud has just been sacked and is not responding to calls. However, with two high-profile exits in the matter of a week, EESL seems to be the biggest sufferer of a situation that, sources say, had been simmering for over a year. The company is going to be functioning without a head until someone is appointed to the post. 

EESL, an energy service company set up under the Union Power Ministry, is a joint venture (JV) of NTPC Ltd, Power Grid Corp of India Ltd, Power Finance Corporation (PFC), and REC Ltd. It is leading India’s ambitious energy efficiency programme, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions as part of the country’s climate change goals and has been valued at Rs 5,000 crore by financial services company Investec.

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