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Opinion

Glencore's Simon Murray: A shambolic start

For a company that likes to keep its head below the parapet, commodities trader Glencore could not have appointed a more incongruous chairman.

Simon Murray was always bound to stir interest with his background as a former Arctic explorer and French Foreign Legionnaire. But less than a week into his new job he guaranteed to keep the notoriously shy Glencore in the headlines through a series of offensive gaffes.

In an interview with a UK newspaper, the 71-year old described immigrants as "fraudulent" African asylum seekers; was critical of hiring young women "who are about to get married...because I know they’re going to get pregnant and they’re going to go off for nine months"; and talked down the country of his birth saying it looks "economically absolutely shambolic."

The timing of his remarks could not have been more embarrassing for the Swiss firm, which is about to complete a $12 billion IPO. Murray has sought to clarify some of his remarks after some advice from his public relations people.

Let’s just hope they weren’t young women or "people who claim to be running away from some place in Africa because they’re being beaten up or something".

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