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New Delhi; Scottish explorer Cairn Energy PLC on Monday announced that its non-executive Chairman Bill Gammell will retire by mid-May.

The former Scottish rugby international, who was childhood friend of George W Bush and Tony Blair, had transformed Cairn from a Scottish oil and gas minnow into an international energy powerhouse and one of the biggest oil producers in India. “Gammell will retire as non-executive chairman of the company with effect from the conclusion of the company’s AGM on May 15, 2014," Cairn Energy said in a statement.

He will be succeeded by Ian Tyler, who is currently a non-executive director of the company.

Gammell, 61, was chief executive of Cairn Energy till June 2011 and oversaw sale of the company’s India unit, Cairn India, to mining firm Vedanta Resources for USD 8.7 billion.

He had led Cairn Energy into buying Barmer basin block in Rajasthan for USD 7 million from Royal Dutch Shell who thought it was dry with no hydrocarbons. Today the Rajasthan block is India’s biggest onland oilfield.

Cairn Energy spun off the India business into a separate company and got it listed on stock exchanges in 2006. In 2011, it sold off Cairn India to Vedanta.

“The Board, led by Iain McLaren, the Senior Independent Director, believes that Ian’s abilities as a non-executive chairman and his extensive listed company experience in multiple countries, which were recognised when he joined the company’s Board, make him ideal for the role of Cairn’s non-executive chairman," the company statement said.

Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Thomson said, “Bill has been an exceptional leader and leaves a lasting legacy at Cairn. His role in the company’s growth over 25 years has delivered significant value to shareholders."

Gammell said the company will remain in highly capable hands with Ian as chairman and Simon at the helm as CEO. Ian Tyler, non-executive director, Cairn Energy PLC, said: “This is an exciting and challenging time for Cairn and I look forward to working with Simon, his management team and the Board as we continue to seek to create and deliver material value for shareholders." PTI

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