Just as the $11 billion (Rs. 60,500 crore) Cairn India is settling down under the new management, its managing director and chief executive officer, Rahul Dhir, has announced his exit from the company.
"The Board of Cairn India announces that Rahul Dhir has decided to step down as MD and CEO of the company effective 31 August, 2012 to pursue his entrepreneurial interests," said a company statement.
"The search for Dhir's successor is underway and an announcement is expected soon."
Speculations over Dhir's exit, who has been the face of the company for almost six years ever since its inception in 2006, have been rife ever since Cairn India became an Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Group entity in December 2011 and Navin Agarwal, Tarun Jain and Priya Agarwal from the Vedanta Group joined the Cairn India board as additional directors.
Sunil Bohra, another senior Vedanta hand, had been brought in as the deputy chief financial officer.
Navin Agarwal, chairman of Cairn India and brother of Anil Agarwal said, "The success of Cairn India, under Rahul's leadership has been achieved... Cairn India is well poised to continue its focus on exploration, and on augmenting our current production."
Dhir is the sixth top level executive of Cairn India to exit ever after the talks of its take over by Vedanta Group began in August 2010.
The other five executives who have moved out of Cain India include chief information officer Vijay Mehra, chief financial officer Indrajit Banerjee, director (health safety and security and emergency) Colin Macintyre, director (human resources) Senthil Kumar and chief operating officer Rick Bott.
The rumours on Dhir's exit gained momentum this February, when he sold 15 lakh of his shares for R50 crore. Market reports peg Dhir to be one of the highest paid, non-promoter CEOs in India, topping the league tables with ESOPs valued at Rs. 250 crore and a salary of Rs. 12.3 crore last year.
Cairn India's board has appointed P Elango, director, business services and a member of Cairn India's executive committee, as the interim CEO.