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Chile's Codelco CEO to step down in March-paper
January 25, 2010 / 12:51 PM / in 8 years

Chile's Codelco CEO to step down in March-paper

SANTIAGO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - 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 older mines.

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)

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