Sir John Bond was today ejected as chairman of FTSE 100 mining giant Glencore Xstrata, only minutes before he was due to run its first annual meeting following the $67 billion (£44 billion) merger.
His humiliating departure is the latest twist in the ongoing drama over who is really in charge of the controversial company. Bond, who has been under growing fire over the merger and corporate governance at the miner, said he had not received enough proxy votes from investors to see him re-elected as chairman at the meeting in Zug, Switzerland.
The 71-year-old former chairman of HSBC and Vodafone stepped down and told shareholders that he was handing control of the meeting to Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP who resigned over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis.
Hayward is the senior non-executive director at the miner. He was set to be announced as interim chairman, according to sources, but no official statement about that had been made to the Stock Exchange on Bond’s departure or his successor.
Bond had already said that he would be leaving Glencore Xstrata after “a period of transition” but he had been expected to remain in place for at least several months. His exit leaves just two former Xstrata directors on the board — Peter Hooley and Ian Strachan. Both were up for election today.
There has been increasing worry that Glencore’s effective takeover of Xstrata has left the new company dominated by Glencore directors and executives. Xstrata chief executive Mick Davis has already quit, six months earlier than expected, with a £14.2 million cash pay-off. That left Glencore, and now Glencore Xstrata, chief executive Ivan Glasenberg firmly in the driving seat.
The controversial deal saw 70 Xstrata executives offered a £144 million package to remain in their jobs. That was ultimately voted down by shareholders. Bond’s ejection came only hours after the resignation from the board of Sir Steve Robson, a former top civil servant at the Treasury.
In a terse announcement to the Stock Exchange, the group, which only completed its controversial merger earlier this month, said: “Glencore Xstrata announces that Sir Steve Robson has resigned with immediate effect. Accordingly, a resolution will be put to the company’s annual general meeting being held today to withdraw the resolution to re-elect him.”
A spokeswoman for Glencore Xstrata said: “We have no comment to make on Sir Steve’s decision.”