RICK Menell has retired from the board of Gold Fields with effect from Wednesday (March 10), the gold producer said in an announcement today.
Menell’s departure, officially described as a result of having led and completed the firm’s CEO succession process, is bound to fuel speculation that Sibanye-Stillwater is plotting a deal with Gold Fields as Menell served on both boards.
Menell remains a non-executive director of Sibanye-Stillwater. He was a non-executive of Gold Fields for 13 years and was the firm’s deputy chairman since 2015.
Gold Fields announced in January that it had appointed Chris Griffith, the former CEO of Anglo American Platinum, as its new CEO. Griffith is due to succeed Nick Holland at the end of this month. Holland leaves Gold Fields after 13 years as its CEO.
“Mr. Menell played a key role in supporting Mr. Holland and the executive team in building and creating a truly global gold company over the last decade,” said Gold Fields in an announcement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. “Gold Fields would like to thank Mr. Menell for his contributions and guidance to the Board during his tenure,” it added.
Neal Froneman CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, has said the combination of his company with Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti would make “commercial sense”.
“I think there are three high quality South African companies that should be put together,” Froneman told BusinessLive, referring to his company, Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti. That he said would be “in the national interest” and would make a lot of commercial sense.
“Egos have to be put aside and we’ve got to do what’s right in the national interest otherwise these South African companies will not feature in the future. They will be consumed by other companies,” he said.
Sven Lunsche, spokesman for Gold Fields, said it was decided Menell should serve on the boards of both companies at the time Sibanye Gold was created from the demerger of Gold Fields’ South African assets in 2013.
“He recuses himself if there is a conflict of interest,” he said.