Glencore completes changing of the guard

The changes are part of a wider shake-up for the Swiss-based commodities company. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Glencore’s top coal trader is to depart, completing a change of the old guard at the top of world’s most powerful commodity trader.

This content was published on March 16, 2021 - 09:01
Neil Hume, The Financial Times

Tor Peterson will leave the Swiss-based company later this year along with two of the candidates who lost out in the race to succeed Ivan Glasenberg as chief executive: Kenny Ives, the head of nickel trading, and his opposite number in copper, Nico Paraskevas.

The changes are part of a wider shake-up up in which Glencore — also a big mining house — will combine its copper and zinc trading businesses and also merge its ferroalloys and nickel marketing departments.

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The moves are designed to “streamline our business”, Glasenberg said in an internal memo seen by the Financial Times, and “realise our ambition of achieving net-zero by 2050”.

“We are also announcing the completion of the management transition to Glencore’s next generation of leadership. All senior management positions have been promoted from within the business, demonstrating the strength in depth across the group,” the memo said.

Over the past two years Glencore has been transitioning to a new generation of younger leaders, breaking up the tight-knit group of executives, some of them billionaires, that built the London-listed company into the commodity industry’s dominant and most talked-about company.

Peterson is the only divisional head from the time of Glencore’s initial public offering in 2011 still at the company. The rest, including former copper boss Telis Mistakidis and the head of oil Alex Beard, have left.

Glencore has also launched the search for a new chairman to replace Tony Hayward, who has said he will step down next year.

As for Glasenberg, he will exit later this year, handing the reins to Gary Nagle, a fast-talking South African who at present runs Glencore’s coal mines.

Nagle saw off competition from Ives and Paraskevas to be named in December as Glencore’s next chief executive — just the forth person to hold the role since the company was founded in 1974.

Under the shake-up announced on Monday, Earl Melamed, finance director for Glencore’s coal assets, will take over from Nagle while Ruan van Schalkwyk will replace Peterson as head of coal trading. Glencore is the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal, which is burnt in power stations to generate electricity.

Jyothish George and Nick Popovic have been appointed joint heads of the combined copper and zinc trading department, focusing on refined metals and concentrates respectively. The merged ferroalloys and nickel trading unit will be led by Jason Kluk, while Peter Hill will take over as head of iron ore marketing. 

In the memo, Glasenberg said Nagle had arrived at Glencore’s headquarters in Baar and the transition was “progressing well”.

News of the management shake up was first reported by Bloomberg.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021

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