Barrick Gold chairman John Thornton takes a 76% pay cut

Barrick Chairman John Thornton.(Image: Screenshot from Brookings Institution video | YouTube.)

Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), the world’ largest producer of the precious metal, has decided to shrink its chairman salary by almost US$10 million, or 76% its current pay, in response to relentless criticism from investors over the firm’s compensation packages.

John Thornton, 62, will receive $3.4 million for his work in 2015, including compensations and pension, a significant reduction from the almost $13 million he pocketed in 2014, according to a regulatory filing.

He will receive $3.4 million for his work in 2015, significantly less than the almost $13 million he pocketed in 2014.

Shareholders have criticized Thornton’s pay, voting twice against it in recent years. Last month, the executive said Barrick had listened to the concerns and, as a result, it changed the way it pays management.

“When we said last year we will fix this, we’ll fix it,” Thornton said in an interview with Bloomberg at the end of February. “In fact we have fixed it.”

Based on the SEC filing, released after the close of markets Thursday, the company’s President Kelvin Dushnisky received $4.35 million last year, or 3.1% less than in 2014, when he was awarded $4.48 million for sharing a co-president role with James Gowans.

The cuts should help Barrick reduced its debt by $2 billion this year. The company, however, faces other risks, such as the declining value of its assets and a major lawsuit.

On Wednesday, a U.S. judge ruled that Barrick must face a class-action lawsuit filed by investors who accuse it of concealing problems at its Pascua-Lama mine on the border of Argentina and Chile.

The project was halted in 2013 as a result of environmental breaches, cost overruns and falling bullion prices.

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