Plummer's planned exit prompts Arrium search
Arrium's managing director, Geoff Plummer.
ARRIUM chief executive Geoff Plummer is unlikely to seek another executive post after confirming he will depart the iron ore and steel maker by the end of next year.
Confirmation that Arrium is looking for its next chief executive came on the same day that almost 20 per cent of shareholders voted against the company's remuneration report at its annual meeting in Melbourne.
Mr Plummer has led Arrium, which was previously known as OneSteel, since December 20, 2004, and has been discussing succession with chairman Peter Smedley since 2010.
Arrium's iron-ore business is undergoing an expansion phase that is due to be completed around August 2013, and Mr Plummer has offered to remain in the role until December 2013 at the latest.
''I think it's a natural time for me to pass the baton,'' he said. ''I've really enjoyed my time in this role. I think this would be the end of my executive career.''
His comments suggest he will not retire and may pursue non-executive boardroom positions.
A foreign consortium lodged two unsuccessful takeover offers for Arrium last month.
Mr Plummer said those offers - which started at 75¢ per share and rose to 88¢ per share - were not a factor in his decision.
The transparent approach at Arrium follows recent unconfirmed reports that BHP Billiton had started scouting for a replacement for chief executive Marius Kloppers.
In rare public comments on the takeover bid, Mr Smedley said he would be happy to discuss a takeover should the price be appropriate.
''We can't entrench ourselves against any takeover … it's philosophical that you can't entrench and if the offer is where we think fair value is, we would be obliged to engage on behalf of the shareholders,'' he said.
Some analysts have suggested that suitors would have to offer well above $1.10 per share to be taken seriously by the Arrium board, but Mr Smedley would not nominate a price that would get his attention.
''I have no price in mind; I look at what's proposed and make a value judgment on it,'' he said.
Arrium's steel-making business is struggling, with the company reporting on Monday that earnings in the 2013 financial year would be dominated by the second half.