Potanin Backs Norilsk Chief After Rusal Criticism of Management

Billionaire Vladimir Potanin said he backs OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Strzhalkovsky after United Co. Rusal criticized management.

“The management of the company, headed by Strzhalkovsky, works properly and I am satisfied by the financial situation in the company,” Potanin said today in an interview in Moscow.

Rusal presented a proposal to Norilsk’s board yesterday to set up a committee to discuss marketing and another panel of independent directors to cover corporate governance, Maxim Sokov, deputy CEO of the aluminum producer, said yesterday.

“We reduced the number of its committees two years ago and Rusal voted for this decision,” Potanin said. A marketing panel may end up spreading sensitive commercial information, he said.

Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska, whose company controls 25 percent of Norilsk, said yesterday the nickel producer may be short of cash because of decisions including repeated share buy backs.

Deripaska and Potanin, both shareholders of Norilsk, spent much of last year feuding over control of cash flows at Russia’s biggest mining company. Deripaska this year spurned Norilsk’s offer to buy back a 20 percent stake from Rusal.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at yfedorinova@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net.

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