GENEVA -- Mining and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata (IW 1000/11) said Thursday it had appointed its first woman to its board, following criticism of the lack of diversity in its oversight body.
The company announced it had appointed Patrice Merrin, 65, as an independent non-executive director "with immediate effect."
The move came after the company faced harsh criticism in Britain, including from Business Minister Vince Cable over the total lack of diversity on its board.
Since mining giant Antofagasta appointed Vivianne Blanlot to its board in March, Glencore had stood as the last company on London's top FTSE-100 index to count not a single woman among its directors.
During the Switzerland-based company's general assembly meeting last month, Glencore chief Tony Hayward however stressed that bringing in women at the top was a priority.
In Thursday's statement, he hailed Merrin and her lengthy experience serving on the boards of other mining companies, including Sherritt of Canada and Stillwater Mining Co. where she remains on the board.
Merrin has also served as head of Luscar, Canada's largest thermal coal producer, and as director of the Alberta Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp., as well as of CML Healthcare, among others.
"Patrice's in-depth experience of operating across the resources sector will help strengthen the board's ability to work with the opportunities and challenges presented by the global extractive industry," Hayward said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014