Glencore names Simon Murray new chairman

Commodities giant Glencore has announced its new chairman amid a morning of controversy that saw former BP chairman Lord Browne widely but wrongly flagged to take the position.

Simon Murray, executive chairman of fund manager General Enterprise Management Services International (GEMS) and former Hutchison Whampoa group managing director, is the new non-executive chair of the Swiss company, which aims to list in London and Hong Kong in May.

But leaked reports out on both the BBC and Sky News earlier today flagged Lord Browne to take the role, which had not been decided at the time its intention to list documents were released.

It appears Lord Browne walked away from the talks over a disagreement with Glencore over governance, leaving Murray to take the position.

Glencore this morning launched its long-awaited offering of up to $11bn (£6.7bn), outlining plans for a market debut that will boost its firepower for acquisitions and make paper millionaires of its partners.

The world's largest commodities trader, which will list in London and Hong Kong in what could be a record debut, confirmed in an intention-to-float document that it would sell a stake of between 15 and 20 per cent stake in the company.

Murray praised Glencore management’s “track-record of value creation”. He will sit on an eight-strong board alongside chief executive Ivan Glasenberg.

It is targeting an offer size of between $9bn to $11bn, comprising a primary component of approximately $6.8 to $8.8bn, and the secondary sale by existing shareholders of approximately $2.2bn.

The financial details confirm an earlier Reuters report citing the company's term sheet.

The listing would value the firm at up to $60bn.

Glencore is stepping into the limelight after four decades of closely guarded privacy for the firm and its executives.

By scrapping its long-standing partnership structure in favour of life as a public company, Glencore will be able to reward partners but also to fund more – and larger acquisitions.

It was also hit by a row over tax evasion at its Zambian subsidiary, Mopani Copper Mines, last night, as five non-governmental organisations filed a complaint with the OECD alleging Mopani manipulated its accounts to evade paying tax.