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Bill Gammell to Step Down as Cairn CEO, Become Chairman

Bill Gammell will step down as chief executive officer of Cairn Energy Plc at the end of this month to become non-executive chairman.

Simon Thomson, currently legal and commercial director at the company, will become CEO. Mike Watts will continue as deputy chief executive and Jann Brown will become managing director, reporting to Thomson, Cairn said in a statement in London today.

Gammell, a former international rugby player for Scotland, led the company as it discovered oil and gas in India, building up to the proposed sale of the majority of its India business for $9.4 billion to Vedanta Resources Plc. Under Watts, who leads Cairn’s exploration team, the company is now focusing on finding oil in the Arctic waters off the coast of Greenland.

“Bill will now become the roving ambassador for Cairn rather than a day-to-day executive,” said Richard Rose, an analyst at Oriel Securities Ltd. in London. “Simon’s a strong individual and he’ll make a good CEO. Mike’s the driving force on exploration and I don’t think there will be a change in strategy.”

Malcolm Thoms, chief operating officer, and Philip Tracy, group engineering and operations director, will step down from the board, as will current chairman Norman Murray. The changes take effect on July 1, Cairn said.

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