Glencore appoints Kalidas Madhavpeddi as new chair

Glencore has chosen an internal candidate as its new chair, completing a generational shift at the top of the miner and commodity trader.

Kalidas Madhavpeddi, a non-executive director, will replace Tony Hayward, who will step down at the end of the month after eight years as chair and more than 10 years on the board.

The appointment of Madhavpeddi comes just days after Glencore’s long-serving chief executive Ivan Glasenberg stepped down, and marks a shift to new, younger leadership for the company, which is facing pressure from investors to cut carbon emissions.

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“As the world transitions to cleaner forms of energy and mobility, our portfolio of commodities will allow Glencore to play a key role in helping us achieve the goals of Paris and play a key role in the ongoing energy and mobility transition,” Madhavpeddi said in a statement.

Glencore is the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal. It is planning to run down its coal mines and use them as a source of cash to produce raw materials such as nickel, copper and cobalt that will be needed as the world shifts to cleaner forms of energy. 

Madhavpeddi joined Glencore’s board in February 2020. He has over 40 years experience in the mining industry including a stint running the international arm of China Molybdenum, one of China’s biggest mining groups.

China Moly is owner of Tenke, a huge copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Glencore has extensive operations.

Analysts and investors had expected Glencore to appoint an internal candidate as its next chair although the timing of Madhavpeddi’s appointment may come as a surprise, coming just after Glasenberg’s departure. 

Hayward, the former boss of BP, said in March he would step down as chair next year. He joined Glencore’s board in 2011 and under the UK corporate governance code should have already departed but big shareholders agreed to extend his term.

Hayward has been overseeing Glencore’s response to several investigations into alleged bribery and corruption. 

Glencore is facing probes in Switzerland, Brazil, the UK and US, where the Department of Justice is examining possible corruption and money laundering in Nigeria, Venezuela and the DRC

Glencore’s new chief executive Gary Nagle said he was looking forward to working with Madhavpeddi. “His decades of experience across the resources sector will be invaluable”.

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