MARK Cutifani is a master at conveying pragmatic idealism. After ten years in South Africa he still believes that the Department of Mineral Resources can be persuaded to recognise mining companies’ needs for the good of the country at large. Although Anglo American’s contribution to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has slipped to 6% from 67% in 1987, which some interpret as a withdrawal from an unattractive operating environment, Cutifani says it shows how Anglo has generated other successful enterprises like Mondi and SA Breweries. In December 2015 he unveiled a comprehensive plan to cut jobs and sell assets to reduce debt and become more efficient and focused. Anglo would retain only its copper, platinum and diamond assets. This was not easy to achieve – in a downturn no one wants to buy unwanted assets, unless they come at deep discounts. Two years later, Anglo still holds iron ore, which is doing extremely well as prices have turned up and there is no talk of selling Kumba. Just as well, since platinum and diamonds have been out of fashion for the past two years. To Cutifani’s credit, Anglo’s share price has risen five-fold over two years, compared with a doubling in bigger rival BHP’s. The share price surge, coupled with South Africa’s political problems, has muted the constant rumours of a takeover bid for Anglo, but there is no doubt they will resurface sooner or later.
LIFE OF MARK
A mining engineer with an Irish mother, an Italian father and an Australian upbringing, he headed AngloGold Ashanti from 2007 to 2012 before being recruited to head Anglo American. He’s a keen rugby and football supporter (Ed: although misguidedly following England’s Chelsea FC) and a proud father of seven children, including twins.
- Web Address: www.angloamerican.co.uk