Tony Hayward's appointment as chairman of Glencore Xstrata came under fire yesterday from investors protesting at the lack of women on the blue chip miner's board.
The former BP boss, who was forced out of the oil major in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, has already been serving as acting chairman of Glencore for the past 12 months, after the City veteran Sir John Bond was ousted from its board last May.
However, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, a group of public sector pension funds with assets of £120bn, has asked its members to oppose his appointment, noting that Glencore is now the only member of the FTSE 100 with an all-male board.
"It is four years on from the Davies Review, yet Glencore Xstrata, with its global presence, still seems unable to find a woman anywhere in the world of sufficient capability to join the board," the association said. The Government-commissioned Davies report called for Britain's major companies to have a quarter of board positions held by women by 2015.
Mr Hayward spent his career at BP but remains best known for his comments after the world's biggest marine oil spill which killed 11, when he said "I want my life back".
However, Peter Grauer, who chairs Glencore's nomination committee, said: "Tony has proved himself to be the outstanding candidate to take on the role permanently."
Mr Hayward did not say if he intends to leave his role as chief executive of Genel Energy. Genel is the oil explorer he established with the controversial businessman Nat Rothschild to take over Turkey's Genel Enerji.
The issue is said to be the reason why Glencore has taken so long to make Mr Hayward's appointment permanent. Glencore, already the world's biggest oil trader, is keen to expand in oil exploration, just as it has expanded into mining, recently buying Caracal Energy, an oil company operating in Africa. That leaves a potentially significant conflict of interests with Genel's oil exploration work, in Kurdistan and Africa.
Genel sources said Mr Hayward was keen to continue in his role there. Glencore is thought to consider his time constraints to be more of an issue than possible conflicts of interest. Analysts said it was most likely he would review the situation in a couple of years.