New can­di­date for Rio Tinto chair­man

The Courier-Mail - - BUSINESS - MATT CHAM­BERS

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.

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