Rothschild tries to oust directors and rebuild coal mine's image

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The Independent Online

Just when you thought relations couldn't get any worse between Nat Rothschild and Bumi's board, the billionaire banking scion has moved to oust most of the directors at the Indonesian coal mine he co-founded in 2010.

Mr Rothschild, pictured, has requisitioned a general meeting in which he will seek to remove 12 of Bumi's 14 directors, including its chairman and chief executive, "with the purpose of rebuilding the company and restoring its reputation".

Bumi's shares rose 7 per cent to 288.5p on the move.

Among others, Rothschild is calling for the removal of chairman and major shareholder Samin Tan, chief executive Nick von Schirnding and Sir Julian Horn-Smith, the former Vodafone deputy chief executive, who is the miner's senior independent director.

In their places he will seek to install Wallace King, deputy chairman of Australian mining services group Ausdrill, as chairman. Brock Gill, deputy director of Rio Tinto's giant Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia, is slated to become chief executive and Mr Rothschild would become an executive director.

Bumi said it would call a shareholder meeting next month. Sir Julian, however, noted that the board had been "working extremely hard to solve the various highly complicated and challenging governance, operational and legal issues at the company and to maximise value for shareholders. All of these issues essentially derive from the original deal that Nat Rothschild was instrumental in putting together."