Former CEOs from SA gold rivals join forces on board of Endeavour Mining

Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan

THE former CEOs of South African gold rivals Gold Fields and AngloGold Ashanti have been united at the board of a third gold producer – Endeavour Mining – which earlier this month broke into the FTSE100 Index.

The Toronto- and London-listed gold producer said in an announcement today that Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, formerly CEO of AngloGold Ashanti for five years until 2018, will become non-executive chairman, replacing Michael Beckett who is due to resign.

Ian Cockerill, who was CEO of Gold Fields for six years from 2002 to 2008, will take up a seat at Endeavour’s board as its senior independent non-executive director. He was until March 7, chairman of Russian gold producer, Polymetal.

In addition to Cockerill, five other non-executive independent directors – Ollie Oliveira, Tracey Kerr, Italia Boninelli, Victor Flores and Andrea Abt – left the London-listed company’s board in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Cockerill and his colleagues left Polymetal amid a massive sell-off in London. Along with Russian steelmaker Evraz, Polymetal was ejected from the FTSE100 Index which made way for Endeavour which had targeted a place in the index since last year.

Cockerill was previously a director of Endeavour between 2013 and 2019 so today’s announcement marks his return to the company.

“It is a great honour to take on the role of chair of Endeavour, a company I’ve admired for some time,” said Venkatakrishnan in a statement. “Endeavour has built a resilient business with a high-quality portfolio in one of the most attractive gold producing regions of the world,” he added.

Venkatakrishnan has a reputation for crisis management but in Endeavour he joins a company in full flow. The company catapulted itself into the top tier of gold producers last year following the acquisition of SEMAFO and Teranga Gold.

It promised in July to pay out $500m in dividends over a three year period ahead of debuting on the London Stock Exchange – an announcement it followed up with a strategy to add 20 million ounces in gold reserves over a 10-year exploration period.

The company, which is due to report its financial results for 2021 on Thursday (March 17), reduced its gold production forecast for its 2022 financial year to between 1.32 million to 1.4 million ounces following the sale of its Karma mine in Burkina Faso. Endeavour’s all-in sustaining costs were also dropped $10 per oz to between $880 and $930/oz.