Wires

UPDATE 1-Tallgrass Energy replaces CEO Dehaemers with operations head Moler

(Adds Blackstone comment, background, TGE shares)

Nov 25 (Reuters) - Pipeline operator Tallgrass Energy LP said on Monday Chief Executive Officer David Dehaemers would be replaced by operations head Bill Moler, a move that was backed by shareholder Blackstone Group Inc.

Dehaemers had come under fire from retail investors last month over a non-binding preliminary proposal by the private equity firm, which included a provision for management to be paid nearly 30% premium for shares in the general partner that owns Tallgrass.

In August, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, its partners and affiliates, who together own nearly 44.2% stake in Tallgrass, including 23.7 million Class A shares, made an offer to buy the remaining shares at $19.50 per unit.

Dehaemers, however, defended the provision and blamed selling shareholders for a 23% drop in stock price.

Shares of Tallgrass Energy fell 1.3% to $17.82 in early trading and was less than $2 a unit below Blackstone's offer for the remaining company.

Blackstone said on Monday it was "incredibly pleased that he (Moler) will lead Tallgrass and its team in its next phase of growth".

Moler was appointed as president and chief operating officer in March. Tallgrass said Dehaemers, who became director and CEO in February 2015, will retire as a board member on Dec. 31. (Reporting by Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)