Teck Cominco Ltd., the world's biggest zinc miner, hired Peter Kukielski, an executive from rival Falconbridge Ltd., as chief operating officer and executive vice president.
The appointment followed Teck Cominco's unsolicited C$16.6 billion ($15 billion) bid this week for Inco Ltd. The offer is conditional upon Inco canceling its planned takeover of Falconbridge. Kukielski will be responsible for mining and metallurgical operations, Vancouver-based Teck Cominco said today in a statement.
Falconbridge Chief Executive Officer Derek Pannell on May 8 said, ``We are surprised that Teck Cominco has taken this step to interfere'' in the deal with Inco, the world's second-biggest nickel producer. Falconbridge and Inco, both based in Toronto, ``are determined to complete'' the buyout, which was announced in October, Falconbridge said in a statement.
Kukielski worked at Falconbridge for five years and was named COO there 10 months ago. His Teck Cominco appointment is effective July 15.
Falconbridge named Ian Pearce as COO effective immediately. He was senior vice president for projects and engineering.
Shares of Teck Cominco fell 1 cent to C$72.76 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They had gained 87 percent in the past 12 months. Falconbridge fell 11 cents to C$53.38. The stock has more than doubled in the past 12 months. Inco declined 74 cents, or 1 percent, to C$73.807.
Teck Cominco also produces copper, gold and specialty metals such as indium and molybdenum. Kukielski replaces Michael Lipkewich, who is retiring after 36 years, Teck Cominco said.
Inco agreed to buy Falconbridge for as much as C$12.8 billion in cash or stock to create the world's largest nickel producer and one of the biggest in copper.
Russia's OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel is the world's biggest nickel producer by 2005 output.
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