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A no-brainer? Davis takes Carroll’s job at Anglo

I want to build another mining company this big

South Africa’s Business Day reports Xstrata CEO Mick Davis may lead an exodus from the diversified miner post the merger with Glencore International.

While the merger is a done deal except for some regulatory OKs, Xstrata’s shareholders resoundingly rejected the controversial retention bonus plan – which would have seen management receive a total of more $220 million just for staying on.

The initial offer announced in February had Davis as the CEO of the merged company, but he is now scheduled to leave Glencore Xstrata International Plc – the official name of the new company – after an initial six-month period ironing out the details of the integration of the two Swiss-based giants.

“I have not yet decided what my future plans will be but certainly retirement will not be part of them,” South-African born Davis told investors after the vote in Zug, Switzerland yesterday.

Speculation is rife that 54-year old Davis – which over a decade built Xstrata from a company with 2,500 employees to a mining powerhouse with 70,000 workers in 20 countries – will replace outgoing Anglo America CEO Cynthia Carroll.

Last month Anglo’s board nudged Carroll to leave the company after more than five years at the helm which saw a drop in profits and a series of operational problems.

Davis cut his teeth in the industry working as a coal trader in Johannesburg during the 1980s and could fit in well with the Anglo culture. Carroll, 55, was the first non-South African to head up the 100-year old company.

Glencore Xstrata International will be headed by top shareholder Ivan Glasenberg, also an old Joburger. The merged entity will be responsible for 10% of global seaborne coal exports, is set to become the world’s third-largest producer of copper and the largest zinc miner worldwide.

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest miner, is also looking to replace its CEO and this week announced that it may recruit outside the mining industry in an effort to find a suitable candidate to replace Marius Kloppers, another South African, in a couple of years’ time.

Image is from the 2012 Honorary Doctorate ceremony at Bar-Ilan University.