Former Rio Tinto chief Albanese has a new job: CEO of Vedanta

Shares in India-focused Vedanta Resources (LON:VED) jumped 4,4% to 895 pence Thursday, the highest level in two weeks, after announcing it had hired former Rio Tinto’s (LON:RIO) head Tom Albanese as its new Chief Executive Officer.

The metal and oil producer said Albanese would take up the new position on April 1, succeeding M.S. Mehta. Anil Agarwal, Vedanta’s founding billionaire who still owns most of the firm, 68% to be exact, remains as the company’s chairman, raising doubts about the degree of control Albanese will have.

Albanese, 56, was at the helm of the world’s second-biggest mining company from 2007 to 2013. He was one of several top executives who quit or were forced to leave after writing down assets bought during a commodity-price surge that ended by 2012.

The New Jersey-born engineer has been with Vedanta since September as chairman of subsidiary Vedanta Resources Holdings Ltd. In his new position, he faces the challenge of turning around a controversy and debt-ridden company.

Shares in Vedanta have fallen more than 25% in the past year, amid environmental disputes and corruption investigations in India.

The most touted happened in 2010, when the Church of England sold its stake in the company due to reservations about the way Vedanta was treating tribes in the Indian state of Odisha.

Albanese will also have to deal with other issues, such as a $10.4 billion in net debt, and the inclination of Indian authorities to ban mineral exports.

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