Min­ing chief jumps ship

AngloGold Ashanti searches for new CEO amid hopes for black ex­ec­u­tive to take the reins

Afro Voice (KwaZulu Natal) - - Business - THELMA NGOMA thel­man@the­newage.co.za

IT RE­MAINS to be seen whether AngloGold Ashanti will hire a black chief ex­ec­tive of­fi­cer to take over the reins in the wake of the res­ig­na­tion of Srini­vasan Venkatakr­ish­nan, who has been with the com­pany for 18 years.

Venkatakr­ish­nan has ac­cepted an of­fer to be­come chief ex­ec­u­tive of Vedanta Re­sources, which is a global di­ver­si­fied me­tals and min­ing com­pany head­quar­tered in Lon­don, af­ter five years as CEO of AngloGold Ashanti.

A global search for the new CEO is under way, with a sub­com­mit­tee of the board put in place to eval­u­ate in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal can­di­dates.

The group has ex­pressed an in­ten­tion to iden­tify a new CEO be­fore Venkat’s de­par­ture at the end of Au­gust.

Venkatakr­ish­nan’s ap­point­ment to Vedanta comes as a re­bound in me­tals prices has prompted the miner to ex­pand pro­duc­tion of zinc and alu­minium, en­abling it to con­tinue its re­cov­ery af­ter it was hit hard by the com­modi­ties slump which ended in 2016.

How­ever, the com­pany has been fac­ing protests against a pro­posed ex­pan­sion of the com­pany’s cop­per smelt­ing plant in south­ern In­dia and said last month it would take a charge up to $600m (R7.2bn) due to the clo­sure of its iron ore busi­ness in the coun­try.

“The board will search glob­ally for a can­di­date with the req­ui­site ex­pe­ri­ence and breadth of ex­per­tise,” AngloGold Ashanti chair­per­son Sipho Pityana said.

Venkat as­sumed the role of CEO in May 2013, soon af­ter the gold price fell by nearly a third.

Under his lead­er­ship, AngloGold Ashanti said it achieved a 16% re­duc­tion in all-in sus­tain­ing costs, a 30% re­duc­tion in all in costs, a two-thirds re­duc­tion in over­head ex­pen­di­ture, a one-third re­duc­tion in debt, suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of two new min­ing projects and at least five con­sec­u­tive years of ei­ther meet­ing or beat­ing its mar­ket guid­ance met­rics.

“Pro­duc­tiv­ity over the five years in­creased by 26%, from 7.66oz a to­tal em­ployee costed in 2012 to 9.66oz-TEC in 2017”.

Pityana said: “He has em­bed­ded a cul­ture of con­sis­tency and ac­count­abil­ity in the busi­ness and has cre­ated the abil­ity for the com­pany to thrive in a range of mar­ket con­di­tions.”

Venkatakr­ish­nan will suc­ceed in­terim CEO Kuldip Kaura at Vedanta in the top job ef­fec­tive from Au­gust 31.

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

VA­CANCY: AngloGold Ashanti is search­ing for a new CEO, prefer­ably a black one, af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of the in­cum­bent Srini­vasan Venkatakr­ish­nan.

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