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Sir John Parker intends to step down in 2017 as Anglo American’s chairman after an eight-year tenure in the role, the mining company said on Tuesday.

Sir John said in a statement: “Having seen Anglo American emerge in a strong position from the mining industry downturn, with its sharp falls in commodity prices between 2014 and 2016, I believe that the time is now right for the board to seek my successor during the course of 2017.”

The 100-year old company said that Sir Philip Hampton, a senior independent director, will lead the process to find Sir John’s replacement.

Sir John led a review last autumn into diversity on UK boards, which warned that a lack of non-white directors created a greater risk of “groupthink” and recommended that every FTSE 100 company should appoint at least one director from an ethnic minority.

Anglo signalled in November that it was willing to puts its disposal programme of non-core assets on hold following a dramatic rebound in commodity prices in 2016, as the company sought to reduce its net debt below $10bn by the end of the year.

Anglo American will announce full year results for 2016 next week.

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