Glencore bosses tightened their grip on the newly enlarged miner and trader on Thursday, as shareholders voted out all former Xstrata directors including the already outgoing chairman, replacing him with former BP boss Tony Hayward.
The move propels Mr Hayward – vilified in the US for his role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill – back into the corporate limelight at one of London’s largest companies.
Already a director, Mr Hayward will take the chairman’s role until a replacement is found and will run the nominations committee as Glencore rebuilds its board. He is not, though, in the running to take the job permanently.
The clean-up at the top was abrupt and fast – handing Glencore a freer hand to restructure the combined company as it begins a three-month evaluation period.
It also puts paid to any lingering notion that the deal could have been a merger of equals and raises questions about whether new directors can be strong enough to act as effective counterpoints to Glencore’s pugnacious chief executive and largest shareholder, Ivan Glasenberg.
Investors and analysts had expected Glencore to put its stamp on the combined miner and trader following the mining industry’s largest takeover, but former Xstrata chairman John Bond’s ousting with immediate effect was unexpected.
Mr Bond, a former banking heavyweight and City veteran, had agreed last November to stand down after coming under fire for a £140m ($223m) “golden handcuffs” package for key Xstrata managers.