Ivan Glasenberg steps down as head of Glencore

Glencore’s chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, eventually anointed a successor, revealing Gary Nagle, responsible for the company’s coal operations, as the next head of the miner and commodity trader.

Mr Glasenberg, who joined Glencore in 1984 and has been CEO since January 2002, announced on Friday that he would retire next year and hand over the reins to Gary Nagle, a fast-talking South African executive.

“Gary has worked with me for a long time,” Mr. Glasenberg said at the company’s annual investor day. “Gary started with me in the coal division 21 years ago. He is 45 years old, he has extensive experience around the world. I am very proud and happy to say that Gary can move this business forward in the future.

The news of Mr Nagle’s appointment came as Glencore, the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal, stole a march on rivals by setting new emissions targets that will make him the first major miner to be fully aligned. on the objectives of the Paris agreement on climate change.

Glencore is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, including those produced when a customer burns their coal, oil or gas. It will do so by exhausting its coal assets.

He also announced his intention to resume dividend payments next year after suspending them this year due to rising debt and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the “three to four” internal candidates who were in the running to succeed Mr. Glasenberg, Mr. Nagle is the most similar to Mr. Glasenberg and the executive most experienced in asset management, a party much more activity in Glencore since its merger in 2013 with Xstrata.

The other favorites were Kenny Ives and Nico Paraskevas, his copper counterpart.

Nicknamed “mini-Ivan” by many in the mining industry, Mr. Nagle is a graduate in business and accounting from the University of the Witwatersrand, Mr. Glasenberg’s alma mater.

Like the outgoing leader, he also rose through the ranks in Glencore’s coal business, but with a stint as head of the company’s ferroalloys business in South Africa.

Tyler Broda, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said Mr. Glasenberg’s retirement was not “positive,” but “new leadership should allow for a bolder approach from management to address some of the challenges that have crept in. in the investment file in recent years ”.

These include the future of its coal business and the investigations conducted by regulators into allegations of corruption and bribery. Mr Glasenberg’s departure could pave the way for a settlement with the US authorities.

When Mr. Glasenberg leaves Glencore in the first half of 2021, he will complete the changing of the guard at the top of the world’s largest commodities traders.

Mr. Glasenberg, who helped build Glencore from the remnants of Marc Rich’s business activity, was the latest in a trio of executives who had come to define the modern commodities trading industry.

Trafigura, which also has its roots in Marc Rich & Co, lost Claude Dauphin in 2015 after his death while in business in Colombia. Ian Taylor, the longtime CEO of Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, passed away this year after a long battle with cancer.

Mr. Glasenberg was the only one of the three titans of commodities trading to go public, using the proceeds of his exceptional public offering in 2011 to build a legacy that went beyond trading. However, its shares are now trading at less than half of their opening price in 2011.

In closing a $ 31 billion deal to take over Xstrata in 2012, in which he won a scuffle with mining company CEO Mick Davis to run the merged company, he added the asset base needed to support his unquestionable commercial weight.

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But despite the IPO that pushed him under the spotlight of the public, like his rivals, he never completely abandoned the derisory approach of the trading industry.

In 2018, the US Department of Justice subpoenaed Glencore for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act regarding its operations in Nigeria, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Glencore has always denied wrongdoing and said it is cooperating with investigations. A number of his main lieutenants – who are part of the “Billionaire Boys’ Club” that the IPO helped create – have resigned in recent years, including oil trading chief Alex Beard, copper chief Aristotelis Mistakidis and, more recently, zinc boss Daniel Maté.

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