Chile's Codelco names Andre Sougarret as new CEO

FILE PHOTO: Andre Sougarret speaks during a news conference in 2010 a few weeks after 33 miners got trapped in the copper and gold mine in Copiapo, some 725 km (450 miles) north of Santiago. Photo taken on September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Luis Hidalgo/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has named Andre Sougarret as its new chief executive, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Sougarret, who is currently vice president for Codelco’s northern operations, will replace Octavio Araneda, who is set to leave the company on Aug. 29 for personal reasons.

“In addition to his technical ability, we value his proven ability to deal with the multiple sensitivities that he’ll need to handle in this role,” board chairman Maximo Pacheco was quoted as saying in a statement.

The appointment comes at a time when the firm faces various setbacks, including cutting its production targets for this year.

Sougarret will take over the reigns as CEO once he returns from medical leave, the company said without giving any details. In the meantime the position will be held on an interim basis by CFO Alejandro Rivera.

Aside from Codelco, Sougarret has also worked at Antofagasta Minerals, Mexico’s Minera Fresnillo and fellow Chilean state-owned Enami, where he was executive vice president.

A trained mining engineer, Sougarret also led the historic 2010 rescue of 33 miners trapped for 69 days in a Codelco mine near Copiapo.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Sandra Maler