Russia's debt-laden Mechel replaces CEO

MOSCOW Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:26am EST

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MOSCOW Dec 31 (Reuters) - Loss-making Russian coal miner and steelmaker Mechel has appointed Oleg Korzhov, its senior vice-president for economics and management, as chief executive replacing Evgeny Mikhel, who had been CEO since 2010.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mechel said Mikhel had left the company. The company had already said its board would meet to consider Mikhel's early resignation.

The departure comes after Mechel reported a net loss of $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2013. Its net debt was $9.4 billion including financial leases as of Dec. 6.

Alongside other Russian steelmakers, Mechel - controlled by billionaire Igor Zyuzin - invested heavily in expansion before the 2008 financial crisis hit demand, forcing it to borrow to support itself.

Mechel finished the bulk of a debt restructuring programme in December and plans to raise around $1 billion from the sale of assets in 2014 to offset the $2 billion debt it has to repay next year.

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