Antofagasta names replacement to outgoing chief executive

Jessica Morris
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Antofagasta shares ticked up on the news (Source: Getty)

London-listed copper miner Antofagasta has appointed an insider to replace outgoing chief executive Diego Hernández who is retiring with immediate effect.

Iván Arriagada, who has been head of the FTSE 100-listed company's minerals division since last February, was widely tipped to be Hernández 's successor.

Read more: Antofagasta's revenue falls on copper price rout

He'd previously worked for a string of commodity titans, including BHP Billiton and Royal Dutch Shell.

"We believe Iván is already well respected by the market and the company is in good hands to navigate through the current market environment," analysts at Barclays wrote in a note.

Hernández played an instrumental role in the sale of Antofagasta's water business last year. The firm wanted to focus on its mining division, which is facing an increasingly hostile business environment.

Its recently scrapped its dividend as it cuts costs to weather the commodities rout, however it said copper prices could recover in late 2017, early 2018.

"It is now time to hand over the reins to Iván who has the track record to capitalise on the progress we have made to strengthen the group and to take it forward," Hernández said.​

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Jean-Paul Luksic, Antofagasta chairman, added: "With 25 years of operational and financial experience in the mining and oil and gas industry, including leading Antofagasta Minerals, Iván is the right person to succeed Diego and to continue to deliver the Group's strategy."

"His strong leadership has proven effective to navigate the current challenges of low copper prices without losing our ability to grow and develop in the future."

Antofagasta shares were up 1.3 per cent to 432.6p this afternoon.