Cynthia Carroll, CEO of mining giant Anglo American has stepped down after 6 years at the head of the company. Lackluster profits and mismanagement of their mine sites around the world precipitated her departure, leaving growing doubt about the company’s future and their 50% stake in the Pebble Partnership. We hope Anglo American’s new leadership will realize what their former CEO failed to recognize: The Bristol Bay watershed is the wrong place to develop for the benefit of their struggling bottom line.

 

Pebble Mine partner Anglo American’s CEO steps down

Published: October 29, 2012
Read full article at Alaska Dispatch

 

Cynthia Carroll, chief executive at London-based mining giant Anglo American, stepped down from her position Friday after six years on the job, the Financial Times reports. Anglo American makes up half of the Pebble Partnership, the group behind the controversial proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

Carroll’s resignation comes amidst shareholder dissatisfaction over the company’s performance. Under her leadership, the company has delivered a negative total shareholder return of about 13 percent, as compared to competitors Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, which have returned 51 percent and 127 percent, respectively.

Carroll told the Financial Times “You never satisfy all shareholders,” adding that the company has a “fantastic future.”

Carroll is the first non-South African and woman to be chief executive of the company, which some say immediately put her at a disadvantage when she took over in January 2007. Yet others cite perceived blunders that have rattled shareholders’ confidence, including what was perceived as an overpayment on the acquisition of a 40 percent stake in De Beers for $5.2 billion.

Compounded by wildcat strikes in South Africa and a 55 percent drop of profits in the first half of 2012, Carroll’s record leading the company has received scrutiny which some say led to her resignation. For example, soon after taking over the top spot, she shut a South African platinum mine with a very poor safety record, costing the company millions.

“I told people, ‘I will not lead a company that is killing people,'” Carroll explained in a 2008 interview. “By shutting down the mine, we sent shock waves through the organization. I don’t think anybody ever imagined we would do such a thing.”

Carroll also pursued a strategy of community involvement and ‘white hat’ corporate leadership relating to the controversial Pebble Mine. At several points she assured Alaska leaders and local residents that the mine would not be built if it couldn’t be designed properly with respect to the Bristol Bay region’s vast fishing resource and if area locals were opposed to it.

“I will not go where people don’t want us. I just won’t,” she said in 2008. “We’ve got enough on our plate without having communities against us.”

Anglo American’s Chairman, Sir John Parker, said in a press release: “Cynthia’s leadership has had a transformational impact on Anglo American … Her legacy will include, among many other things, a step change improvement in safety, sustainability and the quality of our dialogue with governments, communities and other stakeholders. Her values represent the very best of Anglo American.”

Anglo told Financial Times it will now begin searching for a new CEO, which may take over a year. The company’s shares rose 4 percent on Friday.

Read more, here.