SolGold CEO to retire after shareholder pressure

SolGold executive director Nick Mather. Credit: SolGold via YouTube.

SolGold announced on Tuesday that Nick Mather would step down as CEO, after 13 years at the helm of the company.

His resignation comes a month after Mather was handed a strong rebuke at the company’s annual meeting, when nearly half (44.7%) of shareholders voted against his reappointment to the board.

Solgold, backed by BHP and Newcrest , has sparred with two of its largest shareholders over funding for its mammoth Ecuador copper-gold project.

Mather will step down effective 31 March 2021

The Ecuador-focused company agreed in May to a financing package of up to $150 million and a $15 million bridge loan for its Alpala project with streaming company Franco-Nevada, defying Newcrest, which had urged it to raise funds via equity.

In mid-July, Cornerstone Capital Resources (TSXV: CGP), said it wanted to replace SolGold’s entire board of directors. Cornerstone owns 7.54% of SolGold and has a 15% interest in ENSA, the Ecuadorian company that holds 100% of the Cascabel concession. SolGold owns the remaining 85%.

“As one of the largest shareholders of SolGold, it is obvious to Cornerstone that the current SolGold board is incapable of managing the affairs of SolGold for the benefit of all shareholders in a prudent and transparent manner,” Cornerstone’s chairman, Greg Chamandy, said in a press release.

“Additionally, it is our view that the proposed Franco-Nevada royalty financing will significantly destroy shareholder value for all SolGold shareholders.”

Mather will step down effective March 31, after which independent non-executive director Keith Marshall will act as interim CEO until a new CEO is hired. After his retirement as CEO, Mather – who according to the company’s most recent corporate presentation owns about 4.37% of SolGold – intends to remain on the Board as a non-executive director.

“Nick Mather has made an incredible contribution to the success and growth of SolGold, having taken the company from a market capitalization of $40 million in 2006 to over $1 billion,” said SolGold chair Liam Twigger.