Norilsk Nickel CEO to get $100 mln severance-sources

MOSCOW Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:44am EST

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MOSCOW Dec 14 (Reuters) - The departing chief executive of Norilsk Nickel, the Russian mining giant undergoing an ownership shakeup, will receive a $100 million severance deal, two sources close to the company's shareholders said on Friday.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is leaving the world's largest miner of nickel and palladium to make way for shareholder Vladimir Potanin, who this week struck a deal through which Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich will become a shareholder.

The sources confirmed a report in the Vedomosti daily that s aid Strzhalkovsky - w ho as CEO launched a series of share buybacks and sided with Potanin in a bitter shareholder dispute - would receive a one-off payment of $50 million from Norilsk.

He will receive two further payments of $25 million each after six months and one year.

In this week's revised deal, Abramovich will buy a stake of 5.86 percent in Norilsk from Potanin and RUSAL, the aluminium company in which Oleg Deripaska is the main shareholder, for $1.5 billion.

Under the complex transaction, designed to enforce an end to a four-year shareholder dispute over corporate governance and dividend payouts, Kremlin-backed oligarch Abramovich will vote a 20 percent stake in Norilsk.

After a 17 percent stake held in treasury is cancelled, Potanin's investment company Interros will hold a 30.3 percent economic interest in Norilsk, and RUSAL 27.8 percent.

No comment was immediately available from Norilsk, whose board of directors is expected to name Potanin as CEO next Monday.

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