Glencore, the world’s top commodities trader, said Tony Hayward will step down as chairman at the latest by next year’s annual general meeting, after overseeing the appointment of its first new CEO in 20 years.
Hayward’s departure as chairman had been expected, given he’s held a board role for more than nine years, a period longer than recommended under UK governance code. Yet the company said Thursday (UK time) that the board supported him staying another year, to oversee the once-in-a-generation change in leadership at the company, as well as navigate multiple ongoing legal probes.
The appointment of a new chairman, which Glencore says is underway, will add to changes at the top of the company. Chief executive officer Ivan Glasenberg is stepping down this year, after two decades in charge, and will be replaced by hand-picked successor Gary Nagle. A raft of other senior executives who became billionaires when the company floated in 2011 have also left in recent years.
Hayward previously faced opposition ahead of last year’s AGM, when UK-based Pensions & Investment Research Consultants urged shareholders to vote against his reappointment, questioning his independence after a lengthy spell at Glencore.
The change also comes amid a wider shake up of management in the mining industry. Rio Tinto Group is also looking for a new chair after Simon Thompson said he would stand down next year following his handling of the destruction of heritage sites in Australia that already cost the company’s CEO his job.
Hayward joined Glencore’s board in 2011 and was appointed interim chairman in 2013, before getting the post full-time the following year.
He’d previously been the CEO of oil major BP, but resigned in 2010 following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform died following the blowout of a well that led to the worst offshore oil spill in US history and which cost the company $US70 billion ($90 billion) in penalties.
Glencore also said that Hayward’s extension will allow him to continue to oversee the multiple probes it’s facing, including from the US Department of Justice for possible money laundering and corruption. Analysts have speculated that the investigation is likely to be completed this year.