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Freeport-McMoRan names lead independent director

PHOENIX (AP) -- Freeport-McMoRan named Gerald J. Ford to the newly created position of lead independent director.

Ford is the principal shareholder and chairman of Hilltop Holdings Inc. He also is the co-managing partner of the private equity firm Ford Financial Fund II LP. He was initially elected to the board in 2000 and will continue to serve on the board's audit and nominating and corporate governance committees.

Shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. fell 15 cents to $27.11 in premarket trading.