Ex-SAS Commander who led Barrick's efforts in Tanzania has left

One of Barrick Gold Corp.’s most senior executives, who held various high-profile roles at the company from Nevada to Tanzania, has left the company as it prepares to complete its merger with Randgold Resources Ltd.
Richard Williams served as Barrick’s chief of staff and later chief operating officer. A former commander in Britain’s Special Air Service, he was assigned in February to work full-time on securing a deal between the Tanzanian government and Barrick’s majority-owned subsidiary Acacia Mining Plc. Randgold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow and Thornton have made several management changes since the merger was announced in September.

“Willem Jacobs will be taking on those responsibilities following the completion of the merger, in his capacity as head of Africa and Middle East,” Barrick spokesman Andy Lloyd said by text. He declined to comment further other than to confirm that Williams has left Toronto-based Barrick.

Prior to his work in Tanzania, Williams was charged with implementing a sweeping plan by Executive Chairman John Thornton to digitize Barrick’s operations, first in Nevada and then globally. Last year he said that transition was progressing more slowly than he would have liked.

Talks in Tanzania, meanwhile, have floundered and Acacia is pushing to negotiate with the government directly. In 2017, Acacia was hit with a $190 billion tax bill by the Tanzanian government and exports of some products were banned. Thornton stepped in that year to negotiate a tentative deal before assigning Williams to the country, but the dispute remains unresolved.

Randgold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow and Thornton have made several management changes since the merger was announced in September under a new organizational chart that shows at least a dozen executives with direct reporting lines to Bristow.

(By Danielle Bochove)