Indonesia's politically connected Bakrie family and their shareholder partner in Bumi Plc
The Bakries -- who set up their venture with Rothschild just over a year ago -- sold a stake in Bumi last November to a group backed by Indonesian businessman Samin Tan to extricate themselves from a debt crunch.
In a surprise statement on Friday, the Bakrie family and Tan, who now together own a 29 percent voting stake in Bumi, announced they were seeking greater representation, demanding a shareholder meeting to replace not only Rothschild, erstwhile partner and current chairman, but four other board directors.
The request, which arrived at Bumi's London headquarters late on Thursday, sparked fresh speculation over deteriorating relations between Rothschild and the Bakries and sent shares in the miner, one of the world's largest thermal coal exporters, down more than 4 percent.
The Bakries and Tan are demanding the replacement of Ari Hudaya, who is also chief executive of part-owned, listed miner PT Bumi, by Bakrie family lieutenant Nalinkant Amratlal Rathod. Andrew Beckham, chief financial officer, would also be replaced.
If the changes are approved by shareholders at the general meeting, to be held within the next two months, Samin Tan would become chairman under the new structure, with Indra Bakrie as co-chairman.
Indra Bakrie is regarded as the business head of the multi-billion dollar Bakrie family conglomerate.
Other directors who would leave if the changes are approved include the former Anglo American
This is not about personal relations, a Bakrie spokesman said, brushing off talk of a deepening rift between Rothschild and his one-time partners. This is about the best board structure for what is a listed company.
Under the new structure, the executive roles are expected to be based in London, two sources familiar with the matter said, in a bid to improve visibility and relations with institutional shareholders.
Last year, Rothschild, who owns just under 12 percent of Bumi, called for a radical cleaning up of corporate governance at miner PT Bumi Resources, affiliate of Bumi Plc, in a show of frustration with his Indonesian partners.
(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Sarah Young and David Cowell)