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Rusal lines up ex-Anglo miner

Rusal, the Russian alum-inium giant hoping to list in London later this year, has approached a former Anglo American executive to be its chairman.

Simon Thompson, who left his position as head of Anglo American's base metals arm after losing out to Cynthia Carroll to be the new chief executive, is understood to be the leading candidate, although there are others in the race.

The company, the world's largest aluminium group, is under pressure to sign up a high-profile chairman to lead its listing this autumn amid growing concerns in some corners of the City about the quality of recent Russian listings. If it succeeds, Rusal's float will be the largest in London this year, valuing it at about $30bn (£15bn).

It is the first Russian company to seek a primary listing on the London market, meaning it will qualify to join the FTSE 100 group of elite British companies.

The company will have to put at least 25 per cent of its equity on the market to comply with listing requirements, ensuring the float will raise a minimum of $7.5bn.

Its current chairman Viktor Vekselberg is rated number 61 in the Forbes list of global billionaires with a fortune estimated at $10.4bn.

Rusal has already recruited two heavyweight non-executives - Nigel Kenny, a former finance director of Standard Chartered Bank, and Philip Lader, a former American ambassador to Britain and chairman of WPP.

Two-thirds of Rusal is owned by Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch. The company's listing could yet be derailed by another oligarch, Michael Cherney, a founding father of the post-Soviet aluminium industry.

Cherney filed a lawsuit last year against Deripaska over a deal under which Cherney sold his shares to Deripaska. Cherney is believed to want 20 per cent of Rusal.

Industry sources confirmed last night that Thompson was being considered for two roles - non-executive chairman and non-executive director.

It is also understood that Tony Trahar, who retired as CEO of Anglo earlier this year, and Chip Goodyear, the widely respected former CEO of BHP Billiton, were also both approached about the position but turned it down.

Goodyear is believed to be keen to do something outside the mining industry.

United Company Rusal, to give this business its full name, was formed in March from the three-way merger of Rusal, Sual - another Russian metals group - and Switzerland's Glencore, a commodities trader.

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