India-focused mining conglomerate Vedanta Resources Thursday appointed Tom Albanese as its new chief executive from April 1.
The former head of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto plc will replace Mahendra Singh Mehta, the CEO of both Vedanta Resources and Sesa Sterlite, who is retiring on March 31.
“Albanese will take over as the chief executive officer of Vedanta and join the Vedanta board with effect from 1 April 2014,” the company said in a statement.
He will also be appointed CEO of its main operating entity, Sesa Sterlite, from April 1, it added. Vedanta’s Indian billionaire boss, Anil Agarwal, continues to own most of the company and remains executive chairman.
The 56-year old mining honcho has been with Vedanta since September as chairman of its subsidiary Vedanta Resources Holdings Ltd, the holding company of Sesa Sterlite and Konkola Copper Mines. He quit Rio Tinto in January last year after the company reported its first loss in more than a decade.
Albanese is respected in the industry as a seasoned miner with international experience who would be able to help Vedanta improve its relationship with countries such as Zambia, where it has the biggest copper mine outside India.
“Tom will lead all the businesses of our group companies. The board remains committed to delivering against our stated key strategic priorities of optimising our operations, strengthening our balance sheet and further simplifying the Vedanta Group structure,” chairman Anil Agarwal said.