London-listed Vedanta Resources is looking to appoint a new Chief Executive as the present incumbent M.S Mehta has agreed to continue for only 3 months.

Term of Mehta, who turned 58 on December 8, was coming to an end today. In Vedanta, 58 is the superannuation age.

“The search is progressing well and the Nominations Committee expects to make an announcement on the above matter in the coming months,” Vedanta said in a statement today.

It added that ” M.S Mehta’s contractual term as CEO of Vedanta Resources plc is due to expire today. M.S Mehta has agreed to extend his employment contract until 31 March 2014 while the Nominations Committee concludes the search for his successor.”

Industry sources said former Rio Tinto head Tom Albanese is the front runner for the post.

The 56-year old mining honcho joined Vedanta group as chairman of its subsidiary Vedanta Resources Holdings Ltd (VRHL) – the holding company of Sesa Sterlite and Konkola Copper Mines – in September, nine months after his exit from Rio Tinto.

The sources added that Vedanta is looking to appoint a CEO who can help the company in repositioning itself as a global miner as well as in improving its image.

Despite being among the top ten mining firms in the world, Vedanta is perceived by the global community as an India focused miner as majority of its operations are located here.

Besides, the mining conglomerate has been facing lot of flak in recent times from activists over its alleged poor track record on environment, safety and human rights. During this year’s annual general meeting, activists from a campaigning organisation had protested outside the AGM venue against its plans to drill bauxite in Odisha’s Niyamgiri hills.

Future move of outgoing CEO Mehta is not known yet. He had joined Vedanta group in 2000 as senior Vice President in erstwhile Sterlite Industries and rose to serve the group in different capacities, including as CEO to various group companies – Sesa Sterlite, Sterlite Industries and Hindustan Zinc.

Mehta is credited with simplifying the complex group structure of Vedanta and taking the company to new heights.

Interestingly, last week Vedanta had allotted 34,750 company shares to Albanese worth 3,06,578.80 GBP. Post these transactions, Albanese holds 65,250 Vedanta shares, having 0.024 per cent stake and has highest number of shares among company executives other than promoters.

Outgoing CEO Mehta holds 48,697 shares (0.02 per cent stake) of the company.

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