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Glencore appoints new president to complete leadership review

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(Bloomberg) – Glencore Plc, the world’s leading commodities trader, has appointed mining veteran Kalidas Madhavpeddi as its new president, completing a series of leadership changes at the company.

Madhavpeddi has worked in the mining industry for more than 40 years, including a decade as CEO of China Molybdenum International. Glencore gains a new president with extensive experience working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home to some of the company’s key mines, and someone who has worked closely with China for years.

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Madhavpeddi’s appointment highlights the weight Glencore is placing on its massive cobalt and copper operations in Congo as it seeks to end coal mining in the next 30 years. Like Glencore, the new president has championed metals, which are key to the electric vehicle revolution.

The latest appointment concludes Glencore’s senior management review over the past few years. Tony Hayward’s departure as president, which was signaled earlier this year, comes just a week after Gary Nagle replaced billionaire Ivan Glasenberg as CEO.

The new president joins Glencore as he navigates a series of challenges. The company faces multiple investigations, including from the US Department of Justice, for possible money laundering and corruption, while questions also continue about the future of its growing coal business.

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Madhavpeddi has been championing cobalt, a key ingredient in battery manufacturing, since the middle of the last decade. He proclaimed an exciting future for the metal when he ran CMOC, as China Molybdenum is known, in the Congo, when he bought one of the world’s largest cobalt and copper mines for $ 2.65 billion.

That vision is shared at Glencore, which has spent billions of dollars developing its own cobalt and copper mines in the African country. The commodities giant sees them as one of its main earnings drivers going forward as the company looks to capitalize on the transition to green energy. Glencore is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, the only major miner to do so.

Glencore is currently the No. 1 cobalt producer, operating the Katanga mine in Congo, and plans to reopen a second operation in the country next year.

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Madhavpeddi was also an enthusiastic negotiator at CMOC. As much of the mining industry struggled for survival during the 2015 and 2016 commodities crash, the company went on a spending spree, buying assets from Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and Anglo American Plc.

Hayward’s departure follows a series of changes at the top of Glencore. Most of the generation that led the company to its IPO in 2011 left in recent years, while younger executives Kenny Ives and Nico Paraskevas, who had been considered potential candidates for the CEO position, they also left after Nagle was named Glasenberg’s successor.

Hayward, a former CEO of BP Plc, has been chairman since 2013, a longer term than recommended by the UK government code. Still, the board had extended its stay to oversee the broader administrative changes.

“I am very pleased that the board has appointed Kalidas as my successor,” Hayward said in a statement Monday. “His work history in the resource industry and his familiarity with operations around the world provide an excellent background for this appointment.”

Madhavpeddi, who joined Glencore’s board last year, also spent more than 25 years at US miner Phelps Dodge and is currently a non-executive director of Novagold Resources Inc. He will start as chairman of Glencore later this month.

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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