Chile's Bachelet taps two economists, one lawyer for Codelco board

SANTIAGO Mon May 12, 2014 11:19am EDT

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SANTIAGO May 12 (Reuters) - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Monday named two economists and a lawyer to state copper producer Codelco's board of directors, stressing that improving the miner's competitiveness was the key challenge for the three new members.

Oscar Landerretche, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated economist who was one of the main architects of Bachelet's emblematic tax reform project, will become the chairman of the board.

Economist Dante Contreras, who hold a doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, and lawyer Laura Albornoz, who received a doctorate from the University of Sevilla, were also tapped to join the nine-person board, a statement from the Chilean presidency said.

A looming challenge for the new board is whether world No.1 copper producer Codelco will receive sufficient funds from the government to finance a massive overhaul of its huge but tired mines.

Also up in the air is whether current chief executive officer Thomas Keller will keep his job or whether the new board will pick a fresh face.

The three new board members replace Fernando Porcile, Juan Luis Ossa and Andres Tagle. (Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer Editing by W Simon)

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