Pankaj Tibrewal, manager of India's top performing fund for 2009, is leaving the Indian mutual fund unit of U.S. insurer and asset manager Principal, a top executive told Reuters on Friday.

Tibrewal is joining India's Kotak Mutual Fund, a source at Kotak and two others at Principal Pnb Asset Management in direct knowledge of the matter said, but declined to be named.

Friday is his last working day at Principal, Rajan Ghotgalkar, the firm's country head for India, said.

"We will be replacing him. We are looking for someone," Ghotgalkar added.

Tibrewal, who manages more than $300 million in eight funds for Principal Pnb Asset Management, guided Principal Emerging Bluechip Fund to a 147.3 percent gain in 2009, according to data from global fund tracker Lipper.


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