Kazak miner plots to oust chairman

HEADHUNTERS have been called in to find a new chairman for the Eurasian Natural Resources Company (ENRC), despite confirming the incumbent Johannes Sittard in the role in its corporate governance review last Wednesday.

The FTSE 100 Kazakstan mining company last week said it was “fully supportive” of the board-level reshuffle that kept Sittard at the helm as chairman, with Felix Vulis continuing as chief executive after agreeing to withdraw his resignation.

But headhunter Korn Ferry has suggested about two dozen names to replace Sittard, according to reports, with the list understood to include Brian Gilbertson, the former chief executive of BHP Billiton.

Separately, Glencore’s chief executive Ivan Glasenberg is believed to have nominated mining veteran Terence Wilkinson, the non-executive chairman of Glencore subsidiary Century Aluminium who joined ENRC last week as an independent non-executive director.

Sources have suggested Sittard could be gone by the end of the year.

ENRC launched its Corporate Governance Review in June, following long-running tensions between the group’s founder shareholders and board members that culminated in Sir Richard Sykes, Kenneth Olisa and two other directors being voted off the board with immediate effect earlier that month.

Last week’s streamlined board of 11 directors was designed to end the turmoil at the FTSE 100 firm, whose shares have underperformed the market by almost 20 per cent since the start of the year.

Announcing the conclusion of the review, ENRC said: “The review set out to establish a board structure to best support the company through the next phase of its growth and included extensive research of stakeholder opinion. The review concluded that the group will be best served with Dr Johannes Sittard remaining as chairman.”

ENRC was unavailable for comment.