Glencore names interim chairman

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London - Glencore Xstrata appointed former BP chief executive Tony Hayward as interim chairman after John Bond was ousted by shareholders of the world’s largest exporter of power-station coal.

Bond stepped down at the start of Glencore’s annual general meeting today in Zug, Switzerland, saying he didn’t have enough support. Shareholders voted 80.85 percent against his selection, Glencore said in a statement later. The company is seeking candidates and consulting with major external shareholders, and Hayward will step down once a replacement is found, it said.

Glencore, the largest exporter of power-station coal, completed the $29 billion acquisition this month to create the world’s fourth-biggest mining company, with a market value of about $68 billion. The ousting of Bond and director Steve Robson, who also announced he was quitting today, adds to a list of Xstrata executives who departed in recent months as the completion of the takeover neared.

Bond, 71, said in November he wouldn’t take on the role of chairman as planned and would leave once the board created by Glencore’s takeover of Xstrata Plc found a replacement. Glencore shareholders also today rejected former Xstrata board members Ian Strachan, Con Fauconnier and Peter Hooley as directors. The remuneration report was passed, with 22 percent opposed.

Glencore, based in Baar, Switzerland, gained 0.4 percent to 335.20 pence by 12:56 p.m. in London trading. The largest publicly traded commodities supplier, may consider a listing of shares in Switzerland, Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg told the meeting today in response to a question from an investor.

Macondo Well

Hayward, 55, is the CEO of Genel Energy Plc, the largest oil producer in Iraq’s Kurdish region. He resigned from BP, Europe’s second-biggest energy company, in October 2010 following the Gulf of Mexico disaster. The Macondo well exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform and unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

He teamed up with financier Nathaniel Rothschild to create Vallares Plc, a shell company that raised 1.33 billion pounds ($2 billion) through an initial public offering in London in June 2011. Vallares agreed to merge with Genel in September 2011.

Mick Davis, the 55-year-old former CEO of Xstrata, said last month he won’t serve six months in the role at the new company before handing over to Glasenberg as previously announced.

Xstrata Departures

Senior Xstrata executives including Charlie Sartain, head of copper, nickel chief Ian Pearce and Loutjie Smit, interim CEO of Xstrata alloys, have also departed. Strategy and corporate affairs head Thras Moraitis and chief legal counsel Benny Levene will leave after acting as consultants for six months.

Xstrata Chief Financial Officer Trevor Reid said in December he won’t stay on at the combined company.

Bond announced his intention to resign after investors defied the Xstrata board’s recommendation to approve a 144 million-pound ($219 million) package of retention bonuses for about 70 Xstrata managers.

The proposed payments were criticised for being offered without any performance criteria. Xstrata in June amended the package, making all bonuses payable in shares and linking payments to the executives to cost-saving targets. Bond handed control of today’s AGM to Hayward as the meeting opened.

“I recognise and respect the strong opposition among many to the retention arrangements which the board felt appropriate to ensure management stability,” Bond said in a statement today. “As I and my fellow directors depart the Board, we offer our best wishes to Ivan Glasenberg and his team as they start the work on combining these two exceptional companies.”

Vodafone, HSBC

Bond was chairman of Vodafone Group Plc from 2006 until 2011. He had held the same post at HSBC Holdings Plc after joining the lender more than 40 years earlier.

Glencore Xstrata has interests in about 35 coal mines in Colombia, Africa and Australia, accounting for about 10 percent of global seaborne supplies of the fuel. It is the fourth- biggest producer of mined copper and third-largest in nickel, and employs about 190,000 people in more than 50 countries across its industrial and trading divisions.

Glasenberg told analysts this month he expects to generate synergies “well above” the stated target of $500 million a year. He plans to close Xstrata’s Zug and London offices, and plans regional centres in Sydney, Johannesburg, Toronto, Stamford and Singapore.

Cost Savings

The group may save $150 million a year by eliminating Xstrata’s London office, Credit Suisse Group AG analysts said this month. They estimate possible cost savings of $1 billion a year by 2015.

The company has retained two former Xstrata executives as division heads among its 14 senior managers.

“We expect Glencore senior management to dominate the new board and we expect them to impose Glencore’s leaner corporate structure,” Liam Fitzpatrick, Michael Shillaker and James Gurry, analysts at Credit Suisse, wrote in a report this month. The new company may cut duplication and management costs by $200 million to $300 million a year at its copper, coal and zinc units, they said. - Bloomberg News


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