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IGO chair stands by incoming CEO despite Rio Tinto controversy

IGO (ASX:IGO) Chair, Mike Nossal, expressed his support for incoming CEO Ivan Vella after Rio Tinto’s recent dismissal of Vella for an alleged breach of confidentiality. Vella, who had spent two decades at Rio Tinto, was scheduled to join IGO in December to replace the late Peter Bradford.

During the annual meeting, Nossal addressed the situation, stating, “I need to acknowledge the news overnight which relates to Ivan’s departure from his previous employer. The Board is engaging with Ivan to more deeply understand the circumstances; however, it is our expectation that Ivan will start with IGO in early December as planned.”

Nossal reassured stakeholders that IGO had conducted thorough background checks and due diligence on Vella, all of which reinforced Vella’s suitability for the position.

IGO has faced challenges since Peter Bradford’s sudden passing, leading to a decline in the company’s share price. The company also made a substantial writedown of nearly $1 billion in the value of some nickel mining assets acquired during the Western Areas acquisition.

Nossal emphasised the company’s commitment to learning from past mistakes and maximising the value of its assets. Additionally, IGO is addressing technical issues affecting lithium hydroxide production at its Kwinana refinery joint venture with Tianqi Lithium Corp.

Despite the current volatility in the lithium market and an expected 25% decrease in spodumene sales from Greenbushes this year, IGO remains confident in the long-term fundamentals of the lithium market and its strong partnerships with key players like Albemarle.

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