Head of POLYUS says Goodbye, but is not leaving

25 Nov 2013
German Pihoya is leaving the post of Director General of   Polyus Gold owned by Suleiman Kerimov, but he will continue managing company: the substitute is not found yet.  Resignation of top-manager is explained in the market by change of the team after ONEKSIM of Mikhail Prohorov left Polyus in February. They are looking for experienced manager "not necessarily from the branch" for this post, and German Pihoya may appear in Uralkali, 21.75% of which is purchased by ONEKSIM.
Gold mining Polyus Gold reported on Friday, that Director General German Pihoya informed about his intention to resign. He is going to manage the company until the successor is found. Reaction of the investors is not known yet: information issued after a closing date at LSE, where Polyus Gold securities are traded. German Pihoya has been working in company since 2002. Precursor of Polyus Gold was CJSC Polyus, containing gold mining assets of MMC Norilsk Nickel(in March, 2006 separated as OJSC Polyus Gold). MrPihoya was holding the post of Deputy Director General inPolyus. At In process of business separation between Mikhail Prohorov and Vladimir Potanin, Suleiman Kerimov purchased 37.3% shares of OJSC Polyus Gold in 2009. After consolidating assets of "Polyus Gold" and KazakhGold in 2010 the company received the name Polyus Gold International and listing in London. German Pihoya has been Director General of Polyus Gold since 2011.
MrPihoya avoided discussing his resignation.  Polyus and NaftaMoskva owned by Suleiman Kerimov (now owner of 40.2% Polyus) declined to comment. Sources ofKommersantsay that top-manager’s resignation was predictable.  The company is under control of Suleiman Kerimov from spring, and MrPihoya was a member of Mikhail Prohorov’s team, who sold in February 37.78% of Polyus to structures of GavriilYushvayev and ZelimhanMutsoyev (resold his package to his brother Amirhan Mori in August). Market participants believed that purchasers were acting in the interest of MrKerimov.  "Judicial, logistic, safety service were already touched by changes — logically, they have to happen at the level of top management as well",Kommersant’ssource in branch says.
It is still unclear who may hold the post of German Pihoya. They were looking for a new Head of the Board of Directors for Polyus nearly for a half of year (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ALROSA IlyaYuzhanov took the post since October). Sources of Kommersant, familiar with situation, say that “headhunters” have already started searching, and list of candidates will be formed within two weeks. "New Director General is not necessarily a person from the branch, his experience as a manager is more important", one interlocutor clarified. 
Head of Russian Union of gold producers Sergey Kashuba is hoping that MrPihoya would continue his career in branch, where “his experience can be applied”. But sources of Kommersantbelieve German Pihoya may become top manager of Uralkali after purchasing by ONEKSIMof 21.75% company from Suleiman Kerimov (other 11.8% Uralkali will be purchased by the owner of URALCHEM Dmitry Mazepin). TheydonotcommentonthisinONEKSIMandURALCHEM. The source of Kommersant, close to the deal, is not aware of this alternative.