Newcrest CEO leaves Australia’s top gold miner

The acquisition of Red Chris mine boosted Newcrest’s exposure to copper. (Photo courtesy of previous owner, Imperial Metals)

Newcrest Mining (ASX: NMC) announced on Monday that its chief executive officer Sandeep Biswas is retiring from the role effective immediately, after eight years at the helm of Australia’s top gold miner, but will stay on as an advisor until March 2023.

Chief financial officer Sherry Duhe, who joined the company in February, will step in as interim chief executive while a global internal and external search for a replacement is underway.

Chief operating officer for the Americas, Craig Jones, will also assume responsibility for all of Newcrest operations on an interim basis, Newcrest said.

Biswas’ retirement follows open investor discontent over Newcrest’s remuneration report, particularly the CEO’s pay, at the company’s annual meeting last month.

Two rival proxy groups agreed at the meeting that the bonuses paid to Biswas were too generous in relation to the company’s financial performance.

Today’s announcement also comes less than a year after the executive issued a mea culpa published by The Australian Financial Review. In the article, Biswas apologized to those who felt bullied during his tenure and vowed to change his management style.

Newcrest chairman Peter Tomsett said Biswas’s apology was genuine and the right thing to do.

Newcrest CEO Biswas leaves Australia’s top gold miner
Sandeep Biswas. (Image courtesy of Newcrest Mining.)

“I hope that moments like that force many people, no matter where they work, to hold up a mirror to themselves, and have a look at that,” he noted.

He also said the board had been in talks with Biswas “for some time” and felt it was time to speed up the move.

“Our company has strong financial fundamentals, a relentless focus on safety and an unrivalled international portfolio of long-life, low-cost gold and copper assets, all of which have been transformed during Sandeep’s tenure,” Tomsett said.

“We also have a meaningful and increasing exposure to copper — a resource vital to global decarbonization efforts,” he added.

Newcrest currently operates the large open-pit and underground Telfer mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and is the top gold producer in British Columbia, Canada since the 2019 acquisition of the Red Chris copper and gold mine.

In January this year, the company expanded its footprint in Canada with the takeover of Pretium Resources, which handed it the Brucejack gold mine.

The company also operates the Lihir and Hidden Valley mines in Papua New Guinea.