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UPDATE 2-Anglo American names Stuart Chambers as next chairman
June 7, 2017 / 7:33 AM / in 4 months

UPDATE 2-Anglo American names Stuart Chambers as next chairman

* Current chairman to step down on Oct. 31

* Anglo’s recovery stalling after commodities market rally in 2016

* Chambers involved in two big takeover deals last year (Adds comments from analysts, industry source)

By Rahul B and Barbara Lewis

June 7 (Reuters) - Anglo American has appointed Stuart Chambers, the former chairman of British chip designer ARM Holdings and packaging group Rexam, to succeed John Parker as the miner’s next chairman and carry on with its overhaul.

Chambers will join as non-executive director and chairman designate on Sept. 1 before becoming chairman on Nov. 1, Anglo said in a statement.

Anglo’s share price was up 1.24 percent at 1058 pence at 1330 GMT, when the FTSE mining sector index was up 0.8 percent.

Analysts said that the former chairman of ARM, regarded as Britain’s most successful technology company, could prove a shrewd choice as Anglo American focuses on technological fixes to improve margins.

They also noted Chambers’ experience in handling big takeovers. He presided over the sales last year of ARM, to Japan’s Softbank for $32 billion, and Rexam to Ball Corp for 4.43 billion pounds ($5.7 billion).

Parker will step down on Oct. 31 after serving eight years as chairman, including seeing the company through the commodity price crash in 2015-16 that hit Anglo American particularly badly.

Last year shares in Anglo recovered strongly, leading gains by FTSE 100 index constituents with a 300 percent rise, having fallen by 75 percent in 2015.

This year the recovery has stalled as the commodity price rally has faltered.

Challenges for management also include a need to ascertain the intentions of Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, the head of Indian miner Vedanta Resources who has bought a 2 billion-pound ($2.58 billion) stake in the company.

So far Agarwal has said he views the stake as an investment by his family trust, not by Vedanta, and is not seeking to take control of the company.

However, analysts and industry sources predict he will at the very least add to the pressure on Anglo American to deliver returns as activist shareholders target the mining sector, widely regarded as undervalued, and demand reforms.

“This new chairman is from one of the best-run companies focused on technology,” said one senior industry source, who asked not to be named.

“Anglo knows it has to change because it had a near-death experience,” he said in reference to the 2015 price crash.

Anglo’s chief executive Mark Cutifani also said Chambers was bringing relevant skills in “technology-led innovation” and would help to continue to rebuild Anglo.

“We have materially restored Anglo American’s balance sheet and transformed the business performance over the last three years, and our task now is to unlock the very considerable value that we can see from our world-class asset base,” Cutifani said.

Before serving as chairman of ARM and Rexam until 2016, Chambers, aged 61, was a non-executive director at British retailer Tesco until 2015 and was previously a top executive at glassmakers Pilkington and its subsequent parent Nippon Sheet Glass. He began his career at oil major Shell as a chemical engineer.

“Anglo American has emerged from the commodity price downturn more resilient and with a renewed sense of purpose, both strategically and in terms of the role it plays in society,” Chambers said. ($1 = 0.7748 pounds) (Additional reporting by Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Jason Neely, Greg Mahlich)

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