In his closing days as Glencore boss last week, Ivan Glasenberg flew to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan for presidential meetings, oversaw the appointment of a new chair and found the time for one last deal, a buyout of the company’s partners in a huge Colombian coal mine.
Over almost two decades, the chief executive’s relentless work ethic, steely resolve and fierce competitive spirit have driven the company’s transformation from a privately owned commodity trader into a $58 billion (CHF53 billion) publicly listed natural resources giant.
“We built the fourth-largest mining company in the world in 20 years,” Glasenberg told the Financial Times last month.
Now, with the Glasenberg era over and the world turning its back on fossil fuels, his handpicked successor Gary Nagle and new chair Kalidas Madhavpeddi need to hit the ground running.
As a big producer of copper, cobalt and nickel, metals set for a demand boom during the energy transition, Glencore is well placed to profit from the decarbonisation of the global economy.
But critics say Glasenberg has left Glencore ill-equipped for the 21st century, with few senior women and a portfolio of coal mines on three continents — at a time when investors and policymakers are putting pressure on mining companies to tackle climate change.
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