Bitter blow for City after feted banker resigns as chair of embattled Kazakh giant

David Hellier
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MEHMET Dalman, the highly respected former investment banker, yesterday stepped down as chairman of the embattled miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), further staining the FTSE 100 group’s reputation.

Dalman’s resignation came at the end of a day of talks and was accompanied by news that two other directors, Professor Dieter Ameling and Sir Paul Judge, will not be standing for re-election at the group’s annual shareholder meeting in June.

ENRC, which is majority owned by three oligarchs as well as the Kazakh government, listed in London in 2007 and was then valued at £6.8bn.

Dalman, director since ENRC listed, was named chairman last year when the company promised to clean up its boardroom and its strategy and boost its lagging shares.

Since then, however, ENRC stock has continued to fall, and the group is now worth just over half of its 2007 valuation.

In the past few weeks a string of executive departures has fuelled long-running corporate governance concerns.

An official statement issued last night quoted Dalman as saying: “I believe I have achieved all that I can as chairman of ENRC and it is therefore appropriate to hand over the reins to new leadership. I am confident that the interests of the minority shareholders will be well served by strong non-executive directors.”

Friends said that by the end, Dalman was not kept fully informed of key events at the company.

The troubled experience of ENRC on the London Stock Exchange has led to growing calls for tougher regulation of foreign-owned companies, especially where few shares are in independent hands.

Last night Ken Olisa, the prominent non-executive director fired by the ENRC shareholders in June 2011, said: “This is a sad day for London and Kazakhstan. I don’t think we will see more of these assets floated in London again.”

ENRC appointed Gerhard Ammann as its next chairman.