Anglo American bolsters board for fight against Xstrata

Anglo American has appointed Sir John Parker as chairperson to bolster the mining company’s defences against an unwanted takeover bid from rival Xstrata.

Parker joins the board with immediate effect and will become chairperson on 1 August. He succeeds Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, who is retiring after seven years as chairman.

The well respected Parker is chairperson of the UK’s National Grid. In South Africa, where Anglo was founded and still has many operations, he shares with Cyril Ramaphosa the chairmanship of the Mondi Group, the paper producer that was spun off from Anglo two years ago.

He is expected to relinquish several of his other commitments; recently, he stepped down as chair of the court of the Bank of England.

Last month, Anglo American rejected an all-share offer from Xstrata, headed by the South African-born Mick Davis, as “totally unacceptable”.
The combined group would have a market value of more than £40-billion.

Moody-Stuart said the board’s decision to recruit Parker after a global search that took several months was unanimous. “Sir John is recognised as a highly experienced and independent chairman, has chaired four FTSE 100 companies and brings a wealth of leadership experience across a range of industries in many countries, including in South Africa,” he said.

Parker said: “With deep roots in South Africa, a country I know very well through my years at Babcock International and my more recent role at Mondi working jointly with Cyril Ramaphosa, this global company has an opportunity to deliver considerable further growth and value in the coming years.”

Ramaphosa had also been shortlisted for Anglo’s chairmanship.

The takeover battle took an unusual turn this week when Cynthia Carroll, Anglo’s chief executive, became the target of a sexist rant from the group’s former deputy chairperson, Graham Boustred. He also said Anglo was a disaster and the board had to be swept aside. “The only way for it to be swept aside is for Mick Davis to succeed with his bid.”

Carroll has been criticised by some investors for scrapping Anglo’s dividend, showing poor leadership and overpaying for assets. -

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