Vedanta Slumps After Saying Report of CEO Leaving `Baseless'

  • Speculation of CEO Albanese leaving is `completely baseless'
  • Former Anglo American CEO was hired as adviser last month

Vedanta Resources Plc, the Indian metals and oil producer controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, fell the most in a month as the company refuted a report that Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese would stand down.

Albanese will step down as head of Indian mining unit Vedanta Ltd. in March next year and will be replaced by former Anglo American Plc CEO Cynthia Carroll, whom the company hired last month as an adviser, Indian television station ET Now reported on its Twitter account. Vedanta is scheduled to report its interim earnings result on Nov. 4.

“Vedanta strongly denies this speculation, which is completely baseless, and would like to state that Tom Albanese will continue to drive the Vedanta business and serve as the group CEO,” the company said in a statement. Carroll “will advise the chairman’s office on matters of strategic importance to the company,” it said.

Vedanta dropped 7.9 percent to close at 499 pence in London, the lowest in two weeks. The stock has declined 13 percent this year.

“When Albanese joined Vedanta, it was the first time they got somebody professional from outside at the top,” Giriraj Daga, a portfolio manager at SKS Capital & Research Pvt. in Mumbai, said by phone. “The idea was that things were changing. So now people will see any management change as a negative."

Carroll, who was Anglo American CEO from 2007 to 2013, was last month appointed to chair Vedanta Resources Holdings Ltd. and advise the group-level chairman Agarwal on “corporate development and significant value-creation opportunities,” according to the statement announcing her hire.

Albanese was appointed to head Vedanta in April last year following a six-year stint as CEO of Rio Tinto Group. He headed Rio at the same time Carroll was running Anglo before both departed after over-paying for acquisitions.

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