* Usmanov nominates RusTechnologies CEO to Norilsk board
* Norilsk co-owners to elect new board as part of peace deal
* New board should be elected in March
MOSCOW, Feb 4 Russia's richest man Alisher
Usmanov has nominated the head of state-owned Russian
Technologies to the board of Norilsk Nickel, a sign of
greater government influence at the world's largest nickel
Billionaire Usmanov, owner of 4 percent of Norilsk, has
nominated Russian Technologies chief executive Sergei Chemezov
to Norilsk's board, Ivan Streshinsky, the head of Usmanov's USM
holding, told Reuters on Monday.
Chemezov's nomination follows a government-backed deal in
December to end a long-running power struggle between Norilsk's
main owners - billionaires Vladimir Potanin and his rival,
aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska.
The agreement brought in billionaire owner of Chelsea soccer
club Roman Abramovich to act as a buffer between Potanin and
Derispaska, who owns a share in Norilsk through UC RUSAL
, the world's largest aluminium producer.
Under the December peace deal, Abramovich will take on a 20
percent voting stake in Norilsk, which mines the vast mineral
deposits of Russia's far north.
Norilsk shareholders are due to elect a new board of
directors at a meeting in March, for which candidates can be
nominated up to Feb. 8. The composition of the new board aims to
balance the co-owners' power in the company.
Chemezov was put forward as a candidate for Norilsk's board
by state bank VEB in 2008. He had planned to be a representative
of the state in Norilsk board at that time, but then removed
himself from the list to focus on Russian Technology.
He has become one of Russia's most powerful figures under
President Vladimir Putin, building a state-owned empire that
includes the world's biggest titanium maker, Russia's biggest
carmaker and one of the world's biggest arms exporters.
But Oleg Petropavlovskiy, an analyst from Russian brokerage
BrokerCreditService (BCS), said Chemezov's influence at Norilsk
would be limited.
"He will be only independent director, which means that
control (over the board) will be kept by RUSAL, Potanin's
Interros and Abramovich's Millhouse," Petropavlovskiy said.
Former De Beers CEO Gareth Penny is considered a likely
candidate for chairman of the board of the Arctic miner, a
source close to one of Norilsk's shareholders said.
Norilsk, Russian Technologies, RUSAL, Abramovich's Millhouse
and Potanin's Interros declined to comment.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt, Andrey Kuzmin and Gleb Stolyarov.
Editing by Jane Merriman)