Beleaguered Solid Energy chief executive officer, Don Elder, has announced his resignation from the company.
Mr Elder was one of New Zealand's highest-paid executives.
He was paid $1.1 million according to 2012 annual accounts, and received more bonuses earlier.
He oversaw a period of rapid expansion of Solid Energy's workforce and operations, including purchase of the Pike River coal mine last year.
A media statement says discussions between Mr Elder and the board of directors have been under way for some time.
He has decided to step down immediately but to remain available to work for the company for a period to assist with a transition.
Dr Elder says in the statement that as the company worked its way out of the major global market downturn in 2012, including significant restructuring, the board would be considering many future changes.
Chairman Mark Ford says that under Dr Elder's leadership since May 2000 Solid Energy grew substantially and achieved many successes. He thanks Mr Elder for his 12 years of loyal service to the company.
Garry Diack, previously the company’s group manager organisational development and performance, will be the interim chief executive until a new appointment is made.