December 28, 2018 / 12:49 AM / 7 months ago

Rusal appoints independent director as new board chairman

MOSCOW/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Russian aluminum company Rusal said on Friday it has appointed independent non-executive director Jean-Pierre Thomas as its new chairman as part of an agreed restructuring in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions.

FILE PHOTO: Aluminium ingots are seen stored at the foundry shop of the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk, Russia October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo

The previous chairman, Matthias Warnig, stepped down earlier this week after six years at the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China. His resignation was a condition of the deal.

Jean-Pierre Thomas was elected by the board as chairman with effect from Jan. 1, Rusal said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.

Thomas, 61, has been an independent non-executive director on Rusal’s board since June. He was a managing partner at Lazard investment bank for 15 years, leaving in 2013.

He has also been a non-executive independent director on the board of French metals producer Recylex since 2009.

The U.S. Treasury said last week it would remove sanctions against Rusal, its parent En+ and power firm EuroSibEnergo if they restructured to reduce the controlling stakes of businessman Oleg Deripaska, who is on Washington’s sanctions list.

The deal is subject to a 30-day review period in the U.S. Congress. After the restructuring is completed, En+ will retain the right to nominate the producer’s chief executive, the U.S. Treasury has said earlier.

“Mr. Thomas has in-depth experience with Russian relations, having been tasked with several projects aimed at boosting economic cooperation between France and Russia,” Rusal said in a disclosure in June.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Rusal rose 2 percent on Friday and were on track for their biggest monthly percentage gain in a year.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous word in headline)

Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Editing by Richard Pullin

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