Monday, February 19, 2018
Murray Houston

Murray Houston

Glencore South Africa

MURRAY Houston is another appointee to a difficult position. In this case, the one vacated by his former boss Clinton Ephron who quit his job as head of coal for Glencore South Africa in April last year and emigrated to Israel. Now that all the Gupta family revelations regarding mining industry corruption are in the public domain, and are being scrutinised by the authorities, the key question revolves around Glencore’s attitude to doing future business in South Africa in the wake of the Optimum Colliery fiasco, which must have cost the group dearly. We don’t expect Houston to spell things out anytime soon because he is likely to follow the tight-lipped and ‘below-the-radar’ management style of his predecessor. The reasons are that, like its major mining peers, Glencore generally keeps shtum about strategy and developments, and also keeps a tight rein on its senior executives who seldom – if ever – put unscripted comments into the public domain. As far as we can see, however, Glencore still has an appetite for a good deal in South Africa having announced it would pay just under $1bn to buy Chevron SA and Chevron Botswana. Does this mean it will put more money into the country’s coal sector? That remains to be seen. Glasenberg said in December that Glencore “... would obviously look at any deals” as and when they arose.

LIFE OF MURRAY

He’s a homegrown South African educated at Michaelhouse and the University of Cape Town, where he obtained a BCom degree and CTA (Theory of Accounting) which he followed with a CA through Coopers & Lybrand. He joined the former Duiker Mining in 1996 and came to Glencore via Xstrata Coal where he rose through the ranks as marketing executive, then executive GM and finally COO before being appointed COO of Glencore Coal in May 2013.