An inter-provincial company in New Caledonia, which has a key stake in the Noumea-based SLN nickel company, has chosen Andre Dang to chair its board.
The company STCPI, which was set up 14 years ago to give the territory's three provinces a stake in the dominant nickel sector, has 34 percent of the shares of SLN that owns the territory's oldest smelter in Noumea.
STCPI also has a four percent stake in Eramet, which is SLN's French parent company.
Mr Dang is already the head of the rival nickel company SMSP, which is the majority shareholder of the new plant in Koniambo set up to improve the economic fortunes of the mainly Kanak northern province.
He is also the head of Nickel Mining Company that provides ore to a South Korean smelter.
Noumea's daily newspaper says the appointment may be linked to disquiet that there was no New Caledonian representative at recent SLN and Eramet board meetings.
While nickel is the territory's main resource, there is concern that the political factions have failed to develop a nickel strategy.