Orica CEO Ian Smith is out right away, loses incentive payments

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Ian Smith, the CEO of Orica who admits to sometimes being “aggressive”, is leaving the explosives giant “immediately” and will lose out on short and long term incentive payments.

Last Week Orica announced Smith had agreed to a timetable for his departure and that a search firm had been appointed to look for a replacement.

However, today the company said former BHP executive Alberto Calderon, a director on the board of explosives giant Orica, has been appointed interim CEO.

Since the announcement last week there have been widespread reports on Smith’s abrasive management style. Smith has said that he sometimes goes “beyond being robust and become aggressive”.

Orica Chairman Russell Caplan said today: “Both the board and Mr Smith have agreed that in the interests of minimising further distractions and enabling Orica to move on, Mr Smith will leave the company immediately.”

Smith will be paid out $2.5 million, a year’s base pay. He will forego all of his entitlements under Orica’s short and long term incentive plans.

Smith had been at the company, the world’s leading supplier of explosives to the mining industry, for three years. Orica sold its chemicals business last month to private equity group Blackstone for $750 million. Part of the proceeds, about $400 million, are being used in a share buyback.

As interim CEO, Calderon will be paid $185,000 per month. He won’t get incentive payments. He’s been on the Orica Board since August 2013. His most recent executive role was Group Executive and Chief Executive Aluminium, Nickel and Corporate Development at BHP Billiton.

Calderon said: “The importance of ensuring stability and operational continuity at Orica has been at the forefront of my discussions with the board. The ongoing implementation of our strategy will be my priority while the board continues the process of selecting a permanent CEO.”

Orica shares are up 2.39% to $19.055 on the news.

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