John Bond to chair Xstrata

Willy Strothotte, the long-standing chairman of Xstrata, is to step down from the miner's board in May, with Vodafone's Sir John Bond lined up to take his place, the Anglo-Swiss group said yesterday.

Mr Strothotte, who has chaired the miner since 1994, leading it through its listing nine years ago, also chairs Glencore, the Swiss commodities trader which owns about 35 per cent of Xstrata, and which is believed to be readying itself for an initial public offering.

Mr Strothotte's exit will create some distance between the miner and the trading giant, which some market watchers believe could follow up a listing with a bid for Xstrata. The mining group is understood to have begun the search for a replacement soon after Glencore's listing plans first came to light last year. A float could value the trading group at up to $60bn, according to some estimates.