Arch Coal Inc. has announced that its chairman and chief executive officer, Steven F. Leer, will retire as CEO effective 26 April 2012, the date of the company's annual shareholders meeting. Leer will be succeeded as CEO by John W. Eaves, who currently serves as the company's president and COO and as a member of its board of directors. Leer will remain with the company as chairman of the board of directors.
"The board, John and I have been planning for this transition since John was elected to the board in 2006, and I am confident that he is the ideal person to lead Arch forward at this time of tremendous growth and change in global energy markets," Leer said. "John is an experienced and proven leader with a clear vision for Arch's future. He has spearheaded our recent growth initiatives, led Arch's ongoing efforts to expand sales into the international arena, and solidified our position as the industry leader in safety and environmental stewardship. I have no doubt that Arch Coal will build upon its record of achievement and success under John's strong leadership."
"I want to thank Steve and the rest of the Arch board for this remarkable opportunity," Eaves said. "It will be an honour to lead Arch Coal and the thousands of employees who make this company great. Arch is exceptionally well positioned to capitalise on the rapid growth in energy demand around the world, and we will remain sharply focused on expanding our participation in global coal markets even as we continue to meet the need for secure and affordable energy here at home. At the same time, we will continue to be guided by the three core values that have defined Arch Coal since its formation: safety excellence, environmental stewardship and strong financial returns. I look forward to the challenge of building on the great legacy of growth and success that Arch has achieved under Steve's leadership during the past 20 years."
Leer was elected CEO of Arch Mineral Corp., an Arch Coal predecessor, in 1992, and became CEO of Arch Coal when it was formed in July 1997. Under Leer's leadership, Arch has grown from a regional coal company with sales volumes of around 20 million short t to the world's fourth largest coal producer with volumes exceeding 155 million short t in 2011. "It has been a privilege to work with the dedicated men and women who have made Arch such a special company," Leer said. "It has been their professionalism, hard work and commitment to excellence that has fuelled Arch Coal's success over the past two decades – and it will be those same qualities that propel the company to even greater heights in the future."
John Eaves joined the corporation in 1987 after serving in various marketing-related positions at Diamond Shamrock and Natomas Coal Co. In 1997, he was elected vice president of marketing and president of Arch Coal Sales, the company's marketing subsidiary; in 2000, he was elected senior vice president of marketing; and in 2002 he was elected executive vice president and COO. He has served as president and chief operating officer of Arch Coal since 2006.
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