Last updated: March 7, 2011 9:39 am

Vodafone chairman to join Xstrata

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Sir John Bond, the outgoing chairman of Vodafone, has been named as the new chairman of Xstrata, the Swiss-based FTSE 100 mining group.

Glencore, which reported better-than-expected results last week, is also considering a merger with Xstrata, in which it owns a 34 per cent stake.

Willy Strothotte, the chairman of Xstrata since 1994 who oversaw the group’s London listing in 2002, will step down at the group’s annual meeting in May.

But Mr Strothotte will remain chairman of Glencore, the commodities trader that is considering a possible initial public offering this year.

Sir John, who is stepping down as chairman of Vodafone in July, will join the board of Xstrata as a consultant with immediate effect.

Xstrata, which is led by Mick Davis, chief executive, last month reported annual profits well ahead of expectations, boosted by rising demand for copper and coal. The company plans to expand total commodity production volumes by 50 per cent from 2009 to 2014.

“I look forward to taking up my position at Xstrata at an exciting time for the company and its shareholders as it delivers substantial growth and efficiency improvements,” Sir John said.

Mr Strothotte said: “It has been a privilege to serve as chairman of Xstrata since its inception in 2002 through such an important period of growth and value creation for the group and its shareholders.

“I am pleased to hand over the chairman’s role to such a highly capable and well-respected successor in Sir John Bond and I wish him and Xstrata every success in the future.”

Sir John’s move follows a mini-rebellion at Vodafone’s annual meeting last July when shareholders led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the activist investor, called unsuccessfully for his removal.

Ontario Teachers’ was pressing for a change of chairman in order to restructure Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile phone operator by market capitalisation.

Sir John, who is also a former chairman of HSBC, will be replaced at Vodafone by Gerard Kleisterlee, outgoing chief executive of Philips.

Xstrata shares fell 9.5p, or 0.7 per cent, to £14.15 on Monday.

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