November 23, 2012 / 7:21 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Miner ENRC beefs up chairman's role

LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Miner ENRC has bolstered the role of its chairman, Mehmet Dalman, as the former banker grapples with internal probes, a corporate governance reputation tainted by boardroom battles and lagging shares.

The London-listed group’s board on Friday extended Dalman’s role with immediate effect, handing him a number of executive functions, though it stopped short of renaming the former investment banker’s position as that of executive chairman.

A source familiar with the matter said last month the miner’s board would consider a proposal to change the current, part-time, non-executive, chairman’s role into an executive position.

Senior independent director on the board until he took the chairman’s job earlier this year, Dalman has promoted himself as a “new broom”, and has promised investors a simpler, more transparent structure for the Kazakh group, as well as improved governance.

He has also sought to increase engagement with shareholders, hoping to revive a share price that has underperformed the sector by more than 50 percent since January.

According to Friday’s announcement, he will be given direct responsibility for corporate functions including finance, risk, human resources, legal and compliance, and investor relations.

All of these are crucial for a group which is controlled by its founders and is pursuing whistleblower-triggered investigations into its business.

Eurasian Natural Resources Corp Plc (ENRC) has already completed a probe into allegations of wrongdoing at its Kazakh business. The results have been presented to UK regulators.

It is still working on a separate probe into its international business. This is expected to include copper deals in Congo that have attracted criticism from transparency and anti-corruption campaigners.

As a result of Friday’s change, ENRC’s chief executive, Felix Vulis, will focus on operational issues, from mining to logistics and exploration.

“It represents an efficient addition and division of labour between Felix and myself, drawing on my past experience as a senior executive at a number of leading global institutions,” Dalman said in a statement.

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