Anglo American confirms Duncan Wanblad to take helm of group from April, 2022

Duncan Wanblad, head of strategy and business development, Anglo American

ANGLO American today confirmed the appointment of Duncan Wanblad as its new CEO, effective from April 19, 2022 at the group’s annual general meeting.

This will bring to end the leadership of current CEO Mark Cutifani who will have been in charge of the group for nine years. “There has been no greater privilege for me than leading Anglo American,” Cutifani said in a statement.

Wanblad, currently head of strategy and development at Anglo American, is a mechanical engineer, and was previously head of Anglo American’s base metals division from 2013 to 2019. His first job was at the former South African mining house Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company.

“Having started my career underground as a junior engineer, I have never lost sight of what it takes to produce the metals and minerals that are ever more vital to support our life on this planet,” said Wanblad.

Wanblad steps into the role at a time when investment analysts believe the company has probably met most of its earnings growth potential.

“Anglo American has an attractive portfolio mix with rising exposure to future-facing commodities; however, we argue that the earnings upgrade cycle has rapidly faded,” said analysts at RMB Morgan Stanley last month.

Commenting on succession in 2020, Cutifani said: “The next CEO has to anticipate the world and where it’s going in terms of climate change, the circular economy, material sciences and digitalisation. They have to be part of that, have that understanding and see that trajectory”.

When Cutifani joined Anglo American, from AngloGold Ashanti, the company was at an ebb having over paid for Minas Rio, a struggling iron ore project in Brazil and amid a downturn in the commodities market typified by mining sector overspend and indebtedness. It later emerged Anglo American had also lost many of its technical skills.

After two years of restructuring, in which Cutifani mulled the possible sale or spin out of the group’s 70% stake in Kumba Iron Ore, Anglo American emerged a leaner, more focused company just at a time when the markets began to recover.