December 28, 2018 / 12:48 AM / 3 months ago

Rusal appoints independent director as new board chairman

MOSCOW/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Russian aluminium company Rusal (0486.HK) said on Friday it has appointed independent non-executive director Jean-Pierre Thomas as its new chairman as part of an agreed restructuring in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions.

Aluminium ingots are seen stored at the foundry shop of the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk, Russia October 3, 2018. Picture taken October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

The previous chairman, Matthias Warnig, stepped down earlier this week after six years at the world’s largest aluminium producer outside China. His resignation was a condition of the deal.

Jean-Pierre Thomas was elected by the board as chairman with effect from Jan. 1, Rusal said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse.

Thomas, 61, has been an independent non-executive director on Rusal’s board since June. He was a managing partner at Lazard investment bank for 15 years, leaving in 2013.

He has also been a non-executive independent director on the board of French metals producer Recylex (RXPA.PA) since 2009.

The U.S. Treasury said last week it would remove sanctions against Rusal, its parent En+ and power firm EuroSibEnergo if they restructured to reduce the controlling stakes of businessman Oleg Deripaska, who is on Washington’s sanctions list.

The deal is subject to a 30-day review period in the U.S. Congress. After the restructuring is completed, En+ will retain the right to nominate the producer’s chief executive, the U.S. Treasury has said earlier.

“Mr. Thomas has in-depth experience with Russian relations, having been tasked with several projects aimed at boosting economic cooperation between France and Russia,” Rusal said in a disclosure in June.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Rusal rose 2 percent on Friday and were on track for their biggest monthly percentage gain in a year.

(This story has been refiled to remove an extraneous word in the headline)

Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Editing by Richard Pullin

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