Management shake-up: Glencore appoints mining veteran Kalidas Madhavpeddi as chairman

By Ed Stoddard 5 July 2021

Mining veteran and new Glencore chairman Kalidas Madhavpeddi. (Photo: Supplied)

Commodities colossus Glencore just got a new chairman – mining veteran Kalidas Madhavpeddi will replace Tony Hayward as at the end of July. The new management team is tasked with greening Glencore against the backdrop of sticky challenges such as a US justice department probe into possible money laundering.

Ed Stoddard

Kalidas Madhavpeddi’s appointment completes a shake-up at Glencore’s top after South African Gary Nagle last week replaced SA billionaire Ivan Glasenberg as CEO of the Swiss-based company, a commodities colossus that spans mining, marketing and trading which last year had revenues north of $140-billion. 

US-based Madhavpeddi was CEO of China Molybdenum International for a decade and has wide experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Glencore has key mining assets. His Chinese background will also be an asset. 

As Glencore attempts to reduce its carbon profile and navigate into a greener future, it is perhaps fitting that Madhavpeddi is replacing Hayward, who was formerly the CEO of British oil major BP. Hayward stepped down from that role in 2010 amid a public backlash over the Macondo well explosion and the subsequent oily fouling of the environment in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Madhavpeddi made it clear that steering the Glencore ship into cleaner and greener waters was at the top of his agenda. 

“As the world transitions to cleaner forms of energy and mobility, our portfolio of commodities will allow Glencore to play a key role in helping us achieve the goals of Paris and play a key role in the ongoing energy and mobility transition,” he said in a statement, referring to the Paris accord on cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. 

This focus was echoed by CEO Nagle.

“His decades of experience across the resources sector will be invaluable to Glencore, as we focus on achieving our objectives of sustainable shareholder returns and attaining our ambition of net zero total emissions by 2050, while also focusing on the green energy transition,” Nagle said of Madhavpeddi’s appointment.

Glencore certainly has many challenges on the ESG – or environmental, social and governance fronts. The company faces several probes including one by the US justice department into allegations of graft and money laundering – activities that shareholders take a pretty dim view of these days. 

Then there is the small matter of its huge coal business, an awkward fit in a portfolio that is supposed to be going green. The new team at the very top has a lot on its plate. DM/BM 


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