Ex-Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese has joined a 100%-owned subsidiary of India’s hydrocarbons and mining group Vedanta in a senior role just eight months shy of his firing from one of the world’s biggest mining companies in Q1 2013 stemming from a $14-billion writedown.
Albanese, who led Rio for 6 years, was one of several top mining executives burned by controversial growth strategies after the commodities supercycle, which defined much of the last decade, slumped in 2011 as foundering acquisitions led to writedowns in the billions. In Albanese’s case, his 2007 acquisition of Alcan for $38 billion was the biggest factor in his fall from grace.
In his new role, Albanese will advise both Vedanta Resources Holdings’ operations and the company’s main group board on everything from operational issues and expansion to reputational and investor-related risk. Neither Albanese nor Vedanta would comment on the appointment, according to Reuters.
Albanese’s true influence within a company 65%-owned by founder and chairman, Anil Agarwal, an Indian tycoon and onetime scrap dealer, remains unclear. But observers say he could be a plus for Vedanta, which has been undervalued despite promising operations, investor unease over governance and Agarwal's dominant stake.
The London-listed Vedanta has also just completed a structural overhaul dating to Q2 2012, leaving it better able to cut debt.