“It has always been my intention to transition from executive roles to non-executive roles.”
WHEN David Brown quit as CEO of MC Mining back in early 2020, we pondered whether he was going to return to platinum mining big-time given that he had recently gone onto the board of Northam Platinum. Well, two years down the line, the answer is that he has - but not into the cut and thrust of the operating side of the business. Instead, clearly drawing on his considerable experience as former CEO at Impala Platinum, he has gone for a ‘senior statesman’s’ role as the non-executive chairman of Northam Platinum and also as chairman of unlisted start-up Zimbabwe platinum company Great Dyke Investments.
He was briefly CEO of Kuvimba Mining House, which ran various gold mines plus Bindura Nickel in Zimbabwe, but he stepped down last year citing a desire for a non-executive role. Presumably this makes for a quieter life, although, as chairman of Northam, Brown could still catch some heat as firebrand CEO Paul Dunne slugs it out with Implats CEO Nico Muller over ownership of Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat). There are some ironies here. Both Brown and Dunne are ex-Implats, which has led to some conspiracy theory-type speculation over what is really going on, as in: “Is there some kind of payback issue underlying all this?” Surely not, I hear you say! Such mega-deals should be based on a rational assessment of the financial and operating situation. But the fact is, taking over RBPlat makes far more sense for Implats than it does for Northam, but Northam is paying over-the-top prices to buy stakes in the company.