Norilsk aims to settle boardroom war with new set-up

Norilsk Nickel named its long-time co-owner Vladimir Potanin as its chief executive yesterday under a Kremlin-inspired deal to end a boardroom war at the world's top nickel and palladium producer.

His fellow Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich will take control of a 20 per cent voting stake and act as a buffer between Mr Potanin and rival Oleg Deripaska, who owns a share in Norilsk through Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer.

Mr Potanin, pictured, said he planned to stay in the job for between 18 months and two years. The peace deal will last for 10 years, with the core shareholders agreeing to keep their stakes for five. Mr Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea football club, could act as a conduit for the Kremlin at the cash-rich company that mines the vast mineral deposits of Russia's far north.