Chilean copper producer Antofagasta Minerals SA has appointed former Codelco boss Diego Hernández as its new CEO with effect from August 1.
The widely anticipated move sees 63-year old take the helm of Antofagasta in the midst of a management crisis – many senior managers have handed in their notice since January, including former CEO Marcelo Awad who resigned suddenly on March 7.
“We are delighted that Diego has accepted our invitation to lead the mining division business as its chief executive officer,” chairman Jean-Paul Luksic, who has acted as CEO in the past five months, said in a release.
“He has an extensive knowledge of the mining industry. This, we feel, will greatly benefit Antofagasta as it continues to enhance its overall growth profile, supported by our strong financial position and low-cost and profitable operations,” he added.
Hernández was CEO at state-owned copper giant Codelco for the two years until he resigned suddenly on May 24 amid disagreements with what he saw as too ‘hands-on’ a board
He had joined Codelco as CEO in May 2010 after six years as president of base metals at mining giant BHP Billiton. A Paris-trained civil mining engineer, he previously held executive positions at Vale, Collahuasi, Anglo American and Rio Tinto.
Antofagasta has lost up to 50 employees including senior staff since January following technical and performance problems at its key Esperanza and Los Pelambres divisions, sources said.