(Adds shareholders comments, details)
By Silvia Antonioli and Karen Rebelo
June 12 Indonesian coal miner Asia Resource
Minerals Plc (ARMS) has removed its chief executive
Nick von Schirnding and replaced him with independent
non-executive director Amir Sambodo.
Sambodo will take over from von Shirnding on June 28, the
company said in a statement on Thursday.
It said the board had made the decision to change the chief
executive as it felt the role should move from London, where von
Schirnding is based, to Indonesia, near the Berau coal mine,
ARMS' sole coal asset.
But sources close to the company said von Schirnding had
been ousted after losing the support of some large shareholders
who did not agree with his strategy focused on growing the
company rather than maximise returns to shareholders.
ARMS, previously known as Bumi, is going through an overhaul
as it tries to improve its performance after its shares dived
about 80 percent since its London listing in 2010, hit by
shareholder infighting and weaker coal prices.
Bumi co-founder and large shareholder, financier Nat
Rothschild, said in a tweet he welcomed the change. Referring to
Sambodo he tweeted: "Experienced and safe pair of hands. Von
(Schirnding) should never have been given the job."
Other shareholders were less certain.
One said Von Schirnding had been expected to stand for
re-election at the annual general meeting on June 27.
"We have great concern when a CEO is leaving at the same
time they are to be reappointed to their position in a
shareholder meeting only weeks away," the shareholder said.
"Nick has been instrumental in helping us navigate a bridge
between Nat, the Bakries and (former chairman) Samin Tan. Seeing
him go is certainly a cause for concern."
Under von Schirnding, the company achieved a split from the
co-founding Bakrie family which together with Rothschild founded
the company in 2010 to bring Indonesian assets to London
The relationship between shareholders however soured quickly
impacting the company's ability to make strategic decisions.
After the split, former chairman Samin Tan became the
largest shareholders in ARMS.
However some critics say von Schirnding failed to recoup
$173 million the company says is owed by the former head of its
Berau subsidiary Rosan Roeslani.
Sambodo has been an independent non-executive director of
ARMS since 2011, proposed by the Bakrie family.
Shares in ARMS were down 0.25 percent by 0937 GMT vs a 2
percent decline of the London-listed mining sector.
(Editing by Sunil Nair and Susan Thomas)