City veteran steps down from board of Abramovich-backed steelmaker Evraz as British directors are urged to quit Russian firms
- James Rutherford was appointed as a non-executive director in June last year
- The IoD urged British directors to stand down from boards of Russian companies
- LSE suspended the trading of more companies with Russian links, but not Evraz
A City veteran has stepped down from the board of Roman Abramovich-backed Russian steelmaker Evraz, which has been at the centre of the fallout on the London market since the Ukraine invasion.
James Rutherford, who was previously senior vice president with Capital Group, told the board today he would be stepping down with immediate effect, but no reason for his departure was given.
The news comes a day after the Institute of Directors urged British directors to stand down from the boards of Russian companies to ‘show their commitment to the principles of democracy and national self-determination’.
James Rutherford has stepped down from the board of Roman Abramovich-backed Evraz (Pictured: Abramovich, who has a 29% stake in Evraz).
Rutherford, who was appointed as a non-executive director of Evraz in June last year, was also on the board of FTSE 100 miner Anglo American between 2013 and 2020.
He still sits on the board of gold miner Centamin and is a senior independent director of natural resources royalties investor Anglo Pacific.
As an executive, Rutherford was senior vice president of Capital Group between 1997 and 2013, responsible for investments in metals and mining.
His resignation is another blow to Evraz, which has seen wild swings in its share price in recent weeks as Vladimir Putin wages war on Ukraine, with the stock down 90 per cent since the start of the year.
Despite the news, Evraz shares rose 16 per cent to 61.60 in early trading on Friday.
The FTSE 100 company, in which Russian oligarch Abramovich holds a 29 per cent stake, continues to trade on the London stock market despite mounting criticism.
Today, the London Stock Exchange suspended the trading of more companies with Russian links, including Sistema and Magnit, having suspended 27 yesterday, as exchanges scale back their exposure to Russia.
‘The London Stock Exchange notes the ongoing deterioration of market conditions since March 2 2022, and in order to maintain orderly markets, the exchange has suspended the admission to trading of the instruments,’ the LSE said in a statement.
Rutherford’s move follows calls from director general of the IoD Jonathan Geldart, who said yesterday that British directors ‘should feel a stronger moral duty to uphold the fundamental values of freedom and democracy’.
‘The Institute of Directors expresses its solidarity with Ukraine and its people, who are facing intolerable suffering,’ he said.
And added: ‘We believe that it is no longer tenable for British directors to be involved in governance roles in the Russian economy.
‘Therefore, we hope that they will now question the viability of their mandates in Russian and Belarusian companies.’