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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vybornov Is New Alrosa Chief

Diamond monopoly Alrosa named Sergei Vybornov, the head of its investment arm, as president Wednesday, the company said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Vybornov will take up his duties Friday, the statement said. He replaces Alexander Nichiporuk, who stepped down last week after two years as company president.

Vybornov is a former manager at mining giant Norilsk Nickel. A recent shake-up in Norilsk's ownership structure, which gave majority control to Kremlin-friendly oligarch Vladimir Potanin, has prompted speculation that it is due for a takeover. The state is in talks to increase its 37 percent stake in Alrosa to a controlling 51 percent.

The mining sector is a key natural resource industry that remains largely outside of Kremlin control.

Alrosa produces around one-quarter of the world's diamonds and operates mainly in the far eastern republic of Sakha.