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    Ex-tourism chief Strzhalkovsky elected Norilsk Nickel CEO

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    MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) -- Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, the former head of Russia's tourism agency, has been elected as CEO of Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin, chairman of the metals giant's board of directors said on Friday.

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

    Norilsk Nickel's former 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.

    United Company RusAl said Thursday it would vote against Strzhalkovsky.

    According to RusAl, such frequent CEO replacements, involving people who have no experience 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 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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