Anglo American have announced the appointment of Mark Cutifani as its new chief executive, replacing Cynthia Carroll, who announced she would step down in October last year. Cutifani will take over the world’s fifth largest mining company by market capitalisation in early April.
Same again please
Cutifani has been CEO of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd, a South-African based gold producer that was spun off from Anglo American in 1998, since 2007. There, he led the successful restructuring and developments of its business, which includes operations in 10 countries on four continents.
Anglo American will be hoping that he can repeat this performance. The mining giant is facing problems with its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile and Minas-Rio iron project in Brazil, where costs have spirally to US$ 8 billion – twice the original estimate, as well as its underperforming platinum business. A review of this business, which is beset by price weakness and fractured industrial relations, is due soon.
Anglo American’s copper, iron ore and platinum woes
Cutifani will also have to deal with questions over Anglo American’s South African business. The country is one of the trickiest places in the world to mine, because of environmental-permitting issues, tensions with unions, the threat of nationalisation and a stagnant non-mining economy. Last year, violence erupted at platinum mines belonging to Lonmin, killing dozens of mine workers, while union action also forced Anglo American to close its Rustenberg mines.
Some shareholders have been calling for the mining giant to follow the example of GoldFields, which announced in November last year that it would spin off its South African operations. Cutifani will need all of his experience working in South Africa and as the current president of the South African Chamber of Mines to navigate these issues and improve the company’s sometimes rocky relationship with the South African Government.
A “seasoned miner with broad experience”
Before his current role at AngloGold, Cutifani was the chief operating officer of CVRD Inco, a Canadian nickel company. He started his career in the coal and gold mining industries in Australia and has experience across a wide range of commodities.
Commenting on Cutifani’s appointment, Anglo American’s chairman, Sir John Parker, said: “He is a seasoned miner, with broad experience of mining operations and projects across a wide range of commodities and geographies, including South Africa and the Americas. Mark is a highly respected leader in the global mining industry, with values strongly aligned to those of Anglo American. We look forward to welcoming him as our chief executive.”
Written by Jonathan Rowland.
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