Jean-Paul Luksic, chairman of Chilean mining company Antofagasta, has been appointed as interim chief executive, just a week before the family business is due to announce its 2011 results.
The move follows the unexpected resignation of non-family Marcelo Awad, who had been chief executive of the group since 2004.
Antofagasta, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, did not give a reason for his exit.
Luksic, whose family controls 65% of the business, said in a statement on 7 March: “As a group, we will continue to pursue our current strategy of growth, supported by our strong financial position and low-cost profitable operations.”
However, according to media reports, Awad resigned from the family business due to delays in improving production of copper at one of its important plants.
In June last year, Antofagasta cut its 2011 output forecast to around 620,000 metric tonnes of copper, down from its earlier estimated 715,000 tonnes.
The family-run group traces its roots to a railway operating company that listed in London in 1888. The majority of the company was later bought by the Luksic Group, controlled by the eponymous family, and renamed Antofagasta.
The business had 2010 revenues of $4.5 billion (€3.4 billion), up from $2.9 billion the year before.