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Andrew Hall

Invisible men lined up as heirs at commodity traders

Abrupt leadership changes at commodity traders Trafigura and Gunvor over the past week have put a sharp light on an industry-wide challenge: shifting oversight from a legion of legendary, aging leaders to a new generation.Trafigura's co-founder and chief executive Claude Dauphin, 63, who owns less than a fifth of the firm, stepped down this week to receive medical treatment. Jeremy Weir, who ran the mining and risk management divisions, will take over the firm, putting a 50-year-old Australian geologist in charge of the enterprise with a turnover of $133 billion.At Gunvor, Russian founder Gennady Timchenko was forced to sell his 43.5 percent share to Swedish co-founder Torbjorn Tornqvist after the United States slapped sanctions on him to pressure President Vladimir Putin over Crimea. Tornqvist, 60, who has long been CEO, now has full control.Both changes were generally unexpected, and are prompting wider questions of succession in an industry historically known for both its secrecy an...

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