Rio Tinto, the mining giant, was in turmoil Thursday morning after the abrupt departure of its chief executive and the announcement of a $14 billion writedown.
Tom Albanese, who had been at the company for three decades, including nearly six years in the top job, will have to forfeit share options worth 10.7 million pounds ($17 million) after exiting the company. However, he will continue to be paid until the middle of July.
His successor Sam Walsh, head of the company's iron ore business, was given a cautious welcome by the market. Rio's share price was down by around 3 percent in early London trading, with substantially less wiped off the market capitalization than the writedown, as some traders saw its weakness as a buying opportunity.
Analysts at Barclays said the change would be "likely taken well," although the writedowns are "clearly not great" – and added that cash returns could still be possible at the company. Jefferies maintained its "buy" rating on the stock.
Walsh is "well-regarded by shareholders," according to Rupert Nathan, head of fund management at Fat Prophets.