Anglo American PLC has chosen Mark Cutifani as chief executive, with an announcement likely within a few days, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Mr. Cutifani, the Australian chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. would replace Cynthia Carroll, who resigned in October. AngloGold was spun off from Anglo American, the world’s fifth-largest mining company by market capitalization, in 1998.
“The decision has been made,” and Anglo American will announce his selection “on or before mid-January” but probably earlier than that, the person familiar with the matter said. AngloGold declined to comment on behalf of Mr. Cutifani.
As CEO of AngloGold, which has headquarters in Johannesburg and operations in 10 countries, Mr. Cutifani has gained experience lobbying the South African government on behalf of business. While he is well known to Anglo American and its board, as an external candidate Mr. Cutifani is also removed from cost overruns at Anglo American flagship projects and a drop in its share price over the past two years that led to the resignation of Mrs. Carroll. The stock has fallen 17% in the past two years, closing at £20.02, or $32.27, on Monday.
Mr. Cutifani emerged as the strongest contender for the job because Anglo American wanted “someone with relationships and deep knowledge of South Africa,” the person said. “He’s the most qualified to deal with the issues (company officials) have with South Africa,” the person said.
South Africa is one of the trickiest places in the world to mine, because of environmental-permitting issues, tensions with unions, the threat of nationalization and a stagnant nonmining economy. Dozens of Lonmin LMI.LN -0.14% PLC mine workers died last year in shootouts with police during protests over working conditions. Mr. Cutifani, with his background in South African boardrooms and lobbying government officials, is seen as uniquely positioned to navigate the country’s challenges.
Timing of the announcement depends on how soon Mr. Cutifani can arrange his exit from AngloGold. He wants to leave his current employer “in good shape,” the person said. “There has to be an orderly transition.”
Headquartered in London, Anglo American has operations in two dozen countries on six continents. It mines and processes iron ore, copper and other metals, as well as diamonds, and produces roughly two-fifths of the world’s platinum.
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