Glencore’s new boss takes the reins at a good time for commodities

MINING BOSSES often leave under a cloud, ousted after a profit slump, a public-relations disaster or pit-hole calamity. Not so Ivan Glasenberg. For his last set of results on February 16th the boss of Glencore offered shareholders—including himself—a reinstated dividend and an upbeat outlook. Leaving on a high after 19 years in the top job will not make life easier for his anointed successor, Gary Nagle.
All miners have had a bull run of late as commodity prices have surged. China’s appetite for natural resources is unabated. America and Europe are planning infrastructure pushes that will juice demand. The green tinge of such stimulus spending is especially good news for Glencore, a big producer of the cobalt, copper and nickel needed for electric cars and the like.

Investors on the earnings call were as focused on life after Mr Glasenberg. It may not be so different. Those used to seeing the Swiss firm run by a fast-talking South African accountant who has spent much of his career on the coal side of the business might not notice the handover, due to happen in the next few months. Like his predecessor, Mr Nagle is all those things. He will become only the fourth boss to lead the company since its founding in 1974.

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