LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Asia Resource Minerals, the coal miner previously known as Bumi Plc, has appointed Chris Walton, former finance director of airline EasyJet, as its new chairman, in a board revamp that includes some high-profile departures.
The coal miner has been searching for a chairman for most of 2013, after outgoing chairman Samin Tan said in January he could step down once the Indonesia-focused company completed a planned split with the influential Bakrie family that co-founded it.
Walton, who holds board positions with other companies including Rockhopper Exploration, Kazakhstan State Railways and Edinburgh’s main bus operator, Lothian Buses, will join the board on Jan. 1 as independent non-executive director.
He was finance director and chief financial officer of low-cost airline EasyJet from before the group’s 2000 float until early 2005.
As part of the Bumi split, one-time Bakrie partner Tan has agreed to buy the Bakries’ stake in the company, a deal that will make him the largest single investor, with a 47.6 percent holding.
The sale and Bakrie exit could complete next month after a shareholder vote last week approved the separation. Under the agreement, the Indonesian family will sell their stake in the London firm to Tan, while buying back a minority holding in a debt-laden Indonesian subsidiary, PT Bumi Resources.
Last week’s vote also scrapped the Bumi name, renaming the London-listed group Asia Resource Minerals, part of plans to revive a business battered by boardroom rows and weak coal prices, and expand into Asia’s growth markets.
The company said Nick Salmon, former boss of industrial materials supplier firm Cookson Group, would join the board on Feb 1.
Countering those arrivals, Asia Resource Minerals confirmed the expected departure of former Vodafone executive Julian Horn-Smith at the end of January, and mining veteran Steve Shapiro at the year’s annual general meeting.