ANGLOGOLD Ashanti has ended its 10-month search for a permanent CEO, appointing today the former BHP executive, Alberto Calderon.
Calderon will take up his post on September 1 when interim CEO, Christine Ramon will revert to her former role of CFO.
A graduate of Yale University, Calderon held a range of senior positions at BHP including chief commercial officer between 2007 and 2011.
“AngloGold Ashanti brings together a high-quality portfolio and a strong commitment to deliver social, environmental and shareholder value that I relate to strongly on a personal level,” said Calderon in a statement.
Former CEO Kelvin Dushnisky announced his resignation in August and left the three million ounce a year company in September. Ramon acknowledged in May that the vacancy created uncertainty in the market about the company’s strategic direction.
Until March this year, Calderon was CEO of Orica described by AngloGold as the world’s number one commercial explosives maker.
At BHP, Calderon was CEO of its Aluminium division as well as head of its Nickel and Corporate Development. He was also CEO of Cerrejón, Colombia’s largest mining operation, and one of the largest coal mining operations in the world.
Calderon (61) is Colombian by birth. He is currently based in Australia.
“I am delighted to welcome Alberto as CEO of AngloGold Ashanti following a comprehensive global search in which we considered several excellent candidates,” said Maria Ramos, chairwoman of AngloGold. Ramos thanked Ramon for her “… tireless commitment through a particularly tumultuous period globally”.
Other roles held by Calderon include “leadership positions” at the International Monetary Fund and the Colombian government.
The latter will be potentially helpful as AngloGold spearheads growth through three prospects there: Gramalote, Quebradona and La Colosa totalling 38.5 million oz in mineral resource as well as copper by-products.
The company sold the last of its South African assets – Mponeng and Mine Waste Solutions – to Harmony Gold for $300m in September 2020. The move was thought to be a prelude to a primary offshore listing, most likely the London Stock Exchange. However, Dushnisky’s resignation put the brakes on major strategic developments.
The departure of Dushnisky, coupled with the relative under-performance of AngloGold shares for most of 2020 also led to speculation that the company was vulnerable to a takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater whose CEO Neal Froneman publicly stated his interest in creating a ‘South African champion’ by merging with AngloGold and Gold Fields.
In the short-term, Calderon may have some operational pressures with which to deal as AngloGold started the 2021 financial year stickily.
First quarter production of 588,000 oz was down on the 630,000 oz produced a year earlier. AISC increased 26% to $1,287/oz.
The company also said in May that it had stopped mining at its Ghana mine Obuasi whilst it conducted a study following a fatal accident. The mine’s 300,000 to 350,000 ounce production guidance was suspended by total group guidance of between 2.7 million and 2.9 million oz was retained.
Production for 2020 totalled 3.05 million oz.