New candidate for Rio Tinto chairman
A FORMER Xstrata chief executive has emerged as a surprise contender to replace Jan du Plessis as Rio Tinto chairman.
Sir Michael “Mick” Davis is believed to be the lead external candidate in the hunt for a new head of the Rio board, with a decision expected in coming weeks.
The frontrunning internal candidates are both from the oil industry; former Shell chief financial officer Simon Henry and Sam Laidlaw, a former chief of British energy group Centrica.
After Anglo-Swiss commodities heavyweight Glencore bought Xstrata earlier this decade, South Africanborn Sir Michael was supposed to run the combined group. But the role ended up with Ivan Glasenberg after shareholders baulked at the big pay packet Sir Michael would have received.
The former Billiton executive then formed a private equity vehicle, X2 Resources, to buy mining assets in the downturn.
Rio shares fell 71¢ to $73.04 yesterday while BHP Billiton fell 33¢ to $27.95.