Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 July 2009 – Anglo American Plc “’ South Africa’s biggest company during the apartheid years “’ should appoint a black South African as its next chairman to show that it is ready to transform, a South African government official said.
The company “’ which rejected Xstrata Plc’s US$34.7 billion (R277.6 billion) merger offer last month “’ was founded in Johannesburg in 1917 and diversified to dominate the economy during whites-only rule because sanctions hindered it from investing abroad. While Anglo moved its headquarters to London in 1999, it is still the largest mining investor in South Africa.
“We would prefer a black South African,” Department of Mines director general Sandile Nogxina told Bloomberg News in a mobile phone interview. “The appointment of someone else to the post would be a signal that they are not very prepared to transform,” he added
Bloomberg News reports that South Africa is pushing companies ranging from miners to banks to sell assets to black investors and to promote black managers to make up for discrimination during the apartheid era, when blacks were hindered from participating in Africa’s largest economy.
Anglo American is seeking a chairman to replace Sir Mark Moody-Stuart when he retires.
The company is considering former Rio Tinto Plc chairman Jim Leng and National Grid Plc’s Sir John Parker for the post, according to London’s Sunday Times newspaper. Thomson Reuters Group chairman Niall Fitzgerald and BHP Billiton Plc director Paul Anderson are also being considered, the newspaper said.
“The South African government has not seen a list of Anglo’s candidates and can’t intervene in the process,” Nogxina said. “We will be very disappointed if a black South African is not appointed, Nogxina added, saying that one of the black South Africans on Anglo’s board could be suitable.
Fred Phaswana “’ a former regional president at BP Plc and current chairman of Anglo Platinum Limited “’ is a board member, as is Mamphela Ramphele, who sits on the board of MTN Group Limited.