Retiring Glencore chief Ivan Glasenberg announces “mini-me” as his successor

Simon Freeman
·3-min read
<p>Retiring: Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg</p> (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Retiring: Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg

(Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Mining giant Glencore’s billionaire CEO Ivan Glasenberg today announced Gary Nagle, a senior trader known to some as “mini-Ivan”, will succeed him when he retires next year after 35 years.

Nagle, 45, who joined the FTSE-100 company 20 years ago and led operations in Colombia before rising through the ranks to head up its coal arm, will move over from Australia to its HQ in Switzerland early next year.

He will replace Glasenberg, 63, the world’s most famous commodity trader, who told investors he will remain as a shareholder but has no plans to stay on in the mining industry beyond the transition.

He had recently suggested retirement was imminent, saying: “There are not many of us old guys left."

Glasenberg joined Glencore in 1984 and has run it since 2002, owning 9.1% of its shares. He made an overnight fortune along with other senior managers when it floated on the London stock exchange at 530p in 2011, in London’s biggest IPO.

He used the company’s shares as currency for acquisitions, merging its trading house with sister mining company Xstrata in 2012 to create one of the world’s largest mining firms.

Tor Peterson, the head of coal trading, will also step down next year - meaning the whole cohort of billionaires and near-billionares created by the float will have left.

The shares have been sliding ever since and hit a low of 66p in 2015. Despite rallying, they were again brought low by the pandemic but have been recovering since mid-October and today reached a near 12-month high at 239.40p, up 8p, giving a market cap of around £31billion.

The coal, copper, cobalt and nickel producer is under investigation by authorities in the US and the UK over suspicions of corruption, bribery and money-laundering in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Venezuela.

<p>Glencore’s huge coal mining operation has caused investor concern</p>Glencore

Glencore’s huge coal mining operation has caused investor concern

Glencore

Investor concerns have also weighed over the scale of its coal-mining business in an era where the fuel is also increasingly being displaced by cheaper and cleaner gas.

Nagle is known by some as “mini-Ivan", is also South African and attended the same university as Glasenberg, Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Today’s announcement came as Glencore said it planned to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 by prioritising investment in commodities such as copper and cobalt instead of coal.

Chairman Tony Hayward said Nagle had been on the board’s radar for “more than several years”, adding: "We are confident that he has the right skill set and qualities to lead the Glencore of tomorrow.

“As Ivan hands over to Gary, he does so at a time of huge change. As the world moves to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also addressing the challenge of climate change, our industry has a significant opportunity to contribute to the economic recovery by providing commodities essential to the transition to a low-carbon economy."

Nagle said: “I am grateful for the trust placed in me by the Board and honoured to be appointed CEO at such an exciting time for Glencore. We will continue to deliver value to our shareholders, while operating safely and responsibly.”