(Bloomberg) -- Glencore Plc named Gary Nagle to take over as chief executive officer, when billionaire Ivan Glasenberg steps down after almost 20 years at the top of the world’s biggest commodity trader.“It’s time to hand over to a new generation and a new leader,” Glasenberg said on an investor call Friday. “We’ve decided that over the next six months I will be working closely with Gary Nagle, who will be taking over from me.”Nagle, like Glasenberg, is South African and similarly has degrees in commerce and accounting from the University of the Witwatersrand. Also like Glasenberg, he built his career by rising through the ranks of Glencore’s coal department. Now head of that business, Nagle’s appointment comes as Glencore committed to keeping its coal assets, despite speculation it could follow rivals in spinning them off.Glasenberg announced at the end of 2018 his plan to retire in the next few years, firing the starting gun on a closely watched race in which Nagle held off challenges from rivals including Kenny Ives and Nico Paraskevas. The transition comes as Glencore navigates through corruption probes, scrutiny of its environmental bona fides and a share price that’s lost half its value during the past decade.Known by some as a “mini-Ivan,” Nagle joined Glencore in 2000 as an asset manager in the coal department, going on to become chief executive of its Colombian coal operation, Prodeco, in December 2007. Following the acquisition of Xstrata, the 45-year-old was moved to run the company’s South Africa-focused alloy assets, and was later named head of coal assets.Maintaining Culture“He will maintain the culture and the style this company has,” Glasenberg said. “I’m happy to have him as the custodian of my shareholding in the company which I will maintain going forward.”Though Glasenberg is relinquishing the top job, he holds a 9.1% stake in Glencore, making him the second-biggest shareholder.Glencore’s shares rose as much as 4% in London, following the announcement.Glasenberg, who has long defended coal’s role in Glencore’s portfolio, said he would support Nagle if he decided to exit the business. Although he still believes Glencore is a better steward of its coal mines, Glasenberg said that if shareholders decided the coal unit should be sold or spun off, then Nagle would have to do it.“I’ll support him in anything that creates value for shareholders,” he said.Glasenberg’s impending departure follows that of his chief lieutenants, who themselves became billionaires when the company listed, have been leaving the past two years. The exodus included former head of copper trading Telis Mistakidis, head of oil Alex Beard and Daniel Mate, who headed up its zinc business.(Updates with comment from Glasenberg in sixth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.