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RusAl opposes Norilsk Nickel's CEO nomination

MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - United Company RusAl intends to vote against Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, the former head of Russia's tourism agency, as chief executive of metals giant Norilsk Nickel, the aluminum firm said Thursday.

The election of a new CEO is due to take place at a board meeting scheduled for Friday.

The first reports that Interros chief Vladimir Potanin, a major shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, wanted Strzhalkovsky elected as the company's new CEO came last week.

Norilsk Nickel's current general director, Sergei Batekhin, also an Interros man, was elected to his post just a month ago, replacing Denis Morozov, who had been with the company for about 10 years.

According to RusAl, such frequent CEO replacements, involving people who have no grounding in the metals industry or corporate governance, damages the company's reputation and causes serious economic harm to the business and its shareholders.

RusAl, a key shareholder in Norilsk Nickel, asked a regulator earlier Thursday to intervene in a dispute over the sale of a stake in the Russian metals giant by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's investment vehicle Onexim.

Onexim issued a statement Tuesday saying it had consolidated a stake of 16.66% in Norilsk Nickel and offered to sell it to Potanin for around $10 billion.

RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer and the holder of 25% plus two shares in Norilsk Nickel, said the offer ran counter to Russian legislation on joint stock companies, and asked the Federal Service for Financial Markets to intervene.

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