Anil Agarwal hired AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan to run his Vedanta Resources Plc in a move that may hint at the Indian billionaire’s plans for his global commodity portfolio.
Venkatakrishnan, 53, has been CEO of Johannesburg-based AngloGold for five years and spent much of his career working in Africa.
That’s a first for a Vedanta CEO and points to the growing importance of the Indian group’s investments on the continent, where its assets include Zambian copper and South African zinc.
Agarwal, who is also mining giant Anglo American Plc’s biggest shareholder, highlighted Venkatakrishnan’s African experience in a statement Monday.
“It is interesting that Vedanta so clearly seems to be targeting South Africa as a key part of their strategy,” said Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. analyst Paul Gait. “Having a South African background, South African experience and the ability to negotiate in a South African environment is clearly something that Agarwal and Vedanta value.”