New co-chairman expected to reverse Barrick's 'woeful' performance

Peter Munk, founder of heavily indebted Barrick Gold Corp. (TSE:ABX), "searched the world for a successor" and decided on Goldman Sachs President John Thornton, who will face shareholders for the first time as co-chairman on Wednesday.

Thornton's greatest strengths, according to J. Michael Evans of Goldman Sachs Group and Dominic Barton of McKinsey & Co. are "strategy" and his "global view of key countries and markets at the highest level."

His "unique line on many different parts of the world" is supported by a long list of directorships and board memberships globally, including at the Brookings Institution, Tsinghua University, HSBC Holdings, Ford Motor Co., China Unicom and China Investment Corp.

Thornton's challenge is to lead the world's top gold miner out of a serious slump in the face of difficult economic headwinds.

Toronto-based Barrick has seen a 54% decrease in market value over the past 12 months and "has struggled with cost overruns, writedowns, and opposition to his $11.9 million signing bonus from shareholders including Canada's six largest pension fund managers," wrote Liezel Hill for Bloomberg earlier today.


Sources: Bloomberg; Canada Newswire