Meet Anglo’s new CEO: Mark Cutifani

Anglo American (LON:AAL) confirmed Tuesday the appointment of Mark Cutifani as the company’s new chief executive officer.

Cutifani, until now leader of AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU), the South Africa-based gold producer, succeeds Cynthia Carroll. She announced her resignation in October after more than five years at the helm, due to shareholders pressure over the company’s overall performance.

In a statement Sir John Parker, Anglo’s chairman, said Cutifani’s choice was based on his experience as a listed company chief executive with a focus on creating value.

“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,” Parker added.

Cutifani is the second non-South African to head Anglo American, following the US-born Cynthia Carroll. The company said she would leave the board at the annual general meeting in April and step down from the group by the end of that month.

The new head will be paid a salary of $1.9 million, plus incentives.

Challenges

Cutifani will face a rather adverse scenario. Under Carroll’s direction, Anglo became a market underperformer. Other miners were hit by the financial crisis, but most have recovered rather well. Anglo, on the other hand, has been slower and the company’s shares have depreciated since early 2011. From 2008 until now, Anglo’s shares have lost more than 40%. Plus the company experienced a $14-billion loss of market value in the five years Carroll was in charge.

In Brazil, where AngloGold runs the nation’s biggest gold mine, the group is dealing with cost overruns and delays at its Minas Rio iron ore project. It is now forecast to cost double the original estimate.

Then there is the Chile’s Codelco matter. A year ago the state-owned company appeared to blindside Anglo by announcing that it will exercise an option dating back 33 years to acquire half of Anglo's Los Bronces mines and smelters in the country.

After protracted legal action and corporate brinkmanship, a compromise deal was reached in August, which saw Anglo reduce its stake to 50% from 75%.

Cutifani will remain as chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti until the end of March.

Image courtesy of Anglo American

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