Hayward takes chair full-time

Glencore Xstrata has named Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive severely criticised for his role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as permanent chairman of the mining and commodities trading group, ending a year-long search. Hayward, who has been Glencore Xstrata’s interim chairman since John Bond was ousted by shareholders last year, is also the chief executive of London-listed oil company Genel Energy. His confirmation as chairman of one of the largest mining groups completes Hayward’s return to the top of the corporate world after he was forced out of BP following the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Hayward was expected to eventually step down as chief executive of Genel, a source said yesterday. – Reuters


Galaxy S flop claims casualty

Samsung Electronics, the biggest cellphone maker, has replaced the head of its mobile design team amid criticism of the latest Galaxy S smartphone. Chang Dong-hoon offered to resign last week and would be replaced by Lee Min-hyouk, the vice-president for mobile design, a Samsung spokeswoman said yesterday. “The realignment will enable Chang to focus more on his role as head of the design strategy team, the company’s corporate design centre which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung’s businesses, including mobile communications,” Samsung said. Lee became Samsung’s youngest senior executive in 2010 for his role in designing the Galaxy series, a roaring success which unseated Apple’s iPhone as king of the global smartphone market. – Reuters


Quarterly profit beats estimates

Prudential reported first-quarter profit and sales yesterday that beat analyst estimates, boosted by higher demand for annuities in the US. Profit from new business jumped 29 percent to £529 million (9.3 billion), the UK’s largest insurer by market value said, beating the £495m average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by the company. Sales, or annual premium equivalent, rose 13 percent to £1.18bn, also topping estimates. Profit at its US-based Jackson National Life unit surged 67 percent as sales of variable annuities jumped 41 percent. The report “continues the theme from 2013 where the US is doing better than the market expects”, Farooq Hanif, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note to clients. “We expect this to continue in 2014 and see this as a very positive trend for earnings.” Increased US annuity sales contrasts with Britain, where insurers have reported lower sales of the product after the government in its 2014 Budget scrapped rules that forced individual retirees to annuitise their pension savings. – Bloomberg