David Prosser: Chairman shambles mars Glencore's debut

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The Independent Online

Outlook The way in which the identity of Glencore's new chairman appeared to change over the course of a few hours yesterday caused some amusement among journalists. But there is a serious point to be made here. On some measures at least, this is the biggest ever initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange. Why on earth could Glencore not manage to finalise the appointment of its chairman before unveiling the float yesterday morning?

It is not as if this flotation has been hurried – the IP0 has been in the making for as long as anyone can remember. Did the chairman's appointment really have to be so last-minute?

In many ways, this is an exciting deal. But there is nervousness about Glencore, which for years has revelled in its reputation for secrecy.

Now the company wants a public listing, it has no choice but to embrace the highest standards of transparency and openness. Failing to announce the identity of your chairman until six hours after confirming your IPO – allowing market gossips to fill in the vacuum in the meantime – was not the best start to this process.