SANTIAGO Jan 25 The head of the world's top copper miner,
Chile's Codelco, will not stay on the job after a new company board takes
over in March under President-elect Sebastian Pinera, the executive was
quoted on Monday by a local newspaper as saying.
Codelco's Chief Executive Jose Pablo Arellano told Santiago-based El
Mercurio he will no longer work for the government or a state company,
saying "I have fulfilled my duties."
"I will not stay on as chief executive or as member of Codelco's
board," he was quoted as saying.
Some media had reported Arellano would stay in Codelco as a top
executive even under a new board that picks the next company chief.
However, new management is not seen changing the aggressive investment plan
of Codelco, which already started multibillion dollar projects to upgrade
Codelco's [CODEL.UL] new nine-member board will be made of four
executives proposed by an independent council of higher public
administration, two representatives of workers and three others picked
directly by President Michelle Bachelet.
However, those last three board members are likely to be chosen jointly
with incoming President Pinera, tilting slightly
the balance in his favor in the board. The new chief executive is expected
to be close to Pinera who takes office on March 11.
Pinera, a conservative billionaire who ended 20 years of center-left
rule in elections earlier in January, has already clashed with Codelco
powerful unions over pledges to reform the state giant to better compete
against private companies.
Harvard-trained economist Pinera has also floated the idea of selling
part of Codelco to get fresh capital, a move that is seen blocked by
influential unions and a divided Congress.
Unions have threatened demonstration if Pinera pushes ahead with plans
to sell part of the company, which could curtail output in the world's top
producer of the red metal. [ID:nN19233704]
After years of dwindling output Codelco is expected to hit record high
production of around 1.7 million tonnes of copper in 2009. The company sees
output levels staying near record highs in 2010.
Arellano, who was named by Bachelet four years ago, was considered an
efficient manager who had good relations with unions despite a January,
two-day strike at Codelco's massive Chuquicamata copper deposit.
(Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by John Picinich)