Dangote Cement Appoints Ex-Xstrata CEO, Cherie Blair to Board

Mining group Xstrata CEO Mick Davis leaves a shareholders assembly on November 20, 2012 in Zug. Shareholders of Swiss commodities giant Glencore overwhelmingly approved a tie-up with Swiss mining giant Xstrata, during an extraordinary general assembly meeting today wit Xstrata shareholders voting this afternoon to follow suit or not. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Move comes as firm is said to consider London listing
  • Nigerian company is Africa’s biggest cement producer

Dangote Cement Plc appointed former Xstrata Plc Chief Executive Officer Mick Davis as a non-executive director alongside Cherie Blair, a lawyer and the wife of ex-U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, as Nigeria’s largest company looks to strengthen its board.

The company, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, also named Joseph Makoju as permanent CEO after a four-month stint in an acting capacity, according to two emailed statements Monday.

While the continent’s biggest cement producer didn’t give a reason for the high-profile non-executive director appointments, people familiar with the matter said in February that Lagos-based Dangote has revived plans for a share sale in London that could raise about $1 billion. Discussions are ongoing and a listing may or may not go ahead, they said.

The appointment of Cherie Blair “is a way of improving the quality of the members of the board, which is positive for the planned London listing,” Olalekan Olabode, equity analyst at Vetiva Capital Management, said by phone from Lagos. Confirmation of Makoju’s position “points to a good direction for succession planning and corporate governance,”

Davis ran Xstrata, the mining giant now owned by Glencore Plc, for twelve years through 2013. He’s now the chairman of Macsteel and the CEO of the U.K.’s ruling Conservative party. Blair’s other board positions include Renault SA.

Last month, Dangote Cement secured regulatory approval to issue 300 billion Naira ($833 million) in local-currency bonds to fund expansion and refinance debt. It’s planning to spend $350 million on capital projects this year, including the building of export facilities at Nigeria’s seaports to boost shipments to neighboring West African countries.

The company, which has operations in 16 African countries and more than $2 billion in annual sales, is scheduled to report first-quarter results later Tuesday.