PotashCorp brings Doyle era to a close, former Inmet boss Tilk named new CEO

Potash Corp. brings Doyle era to a close, former Inmet boss Tilk named new CEO

Bill Doyle (left) will be replaced in July by Jochen Tilk (right), the former CEO of Inmet Mining Corp.

After almost 15 years at the helm of PotashCorp (TSX, NYSE:POT) Chief Executive Officer Bill Doyle is stepping down on July 1, leaving a legacy that includes a largely completed $8.3 billion plan to expand the firm’s mines amid depressed prices and high supply of the crop nutrient.

From all his achievements, Doyle, 63, will probably be remembered the most as the CEO who fended off BHP Billiton’s (ASX:BHP) hostile takeover bid for the Canadian fertilizer producer, the world's largest potash miner by capacity, but later lose a price war with Russian rival Uralkali.

Jochen Tilk, the former CEO of Inmet Mining Corp., will replace Doyle, who will stay on through June 2015 as an advisor to the company where he’s worked for 27 years, PotashCorp said in a statement.

Doyle, a native of Chicago, joined Potash Corp. in 1987 when the firm was owned by the Saskatchewan government. The company began trading in Toronto in 1989.

“PotashCorp has grown and benefitted enormously under Bill’s leadership and the strategies that have created tremendous long-term value. I share his philosophy for running the company and plan to build on this strong foundation,” said Tilk in the statement.

The company came under fire last December after it announced it was laying off more than 1,000 people, including 440 in Saskatchewan. PotashCorp blamed the cuts on soft demand for potash and phosphates, two major types of crop fertilizer.

Premier Brad Wall blasted the company for cutting the jobs while saying shareholder dividends were sacrosanct. He said workers shouldn’t shoulder tough times alone.

Potash Corp announced in January that its fourth-quarter profit dropped to US$230 million, down 45% from a year earlier as it took hits from lower fertilizer prices and downsizing.