Freeport-McMoRan chairman resigns, shares plummet

Freeport-McMoRan Chairman resigns, shares plummet

Freeport-McMoRan’s Tyrone mine in New Mexico.

Shares in Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) were trading more than 7.5% lower on Monday morning at about $7 after the company announced its co-founder James Moffett was stepping down as chairman and quitting the board.

The move comes a few months after the world's largest publicly traded copper producer added two new directors under pressure from billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Moffett, who has been appointed chairman emeritus, will remain involved as a consultant to Freeport-McMoRan's board, including advising the miner on its Indonesia operations. He will receive with an annual fee of $1.5 million.

The leaving executive was key in the discovery and development of the giant Grasberg mine in Indonesia, one of the world's biggest gold and copper deposits.

Moffett was key in the discovery and development of the giant Grasberg mine in Indonesia, one of the world's biggest gold and copper deposits.

The Phoenix, Arizona-based firm has appointed Gerald Ford non-executive chairman, effective Dec. 31. Ford has been Freeport’s lead independent director since 2013.

Earlier this month Freeport announced it would continue with spending and production cutbacks as it battles to preserve cash in a deepening commodity prices slump.

The measures include slashing expenditures at its energy operations, additional restrictions in copper and molybdenum output and the suspension of its common stock dividend.