Gary J. Goldberg was appointed president and chief executive officer of Newmont Mining Corporation in March 2013. Prior to joining Newmont, Mr. Goldberg was president and CEO of Rio Tinto Minerals, and served in leadership roles in Rio Tinto’s coal, gold, copper and industrial minerals businesses. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Utah.
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In our two part series (read part one here), we interviewed Goldberg to learn more about the CEO and his professional background, including his role at Newmont and future goals for the company, as well as his take on leadership, qualities to look for when hiring and the Green Bay Packers.
How did you get started in the mining industry? What inspired you?
Goldberg: I’m a mining engineer by training and I got my start 34 years ago as a supervisor at Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon mine. I think mines are a masterpiece of engineering in their own right, but the fact that responsible mining unlocks the value of natural resources to make people’s lives better – those who live near mines, and those whose standards of living are improved by our products – is what I find really inspiring.
What drove you to accept the role of CEO at Newmont? Are there any specific goals or milestones you hope to achieve?
Newmont has been a mining industry leader for nearly a century – it was an honor to be named CEO to build on that legacy. My goal is to make Newmont the most profitable and responsible gold producer in the world, and we’re making great progress so far. In terms of my legacy, I want to leave Newmont safer than I found it, significantly improve the quality of our portfolio, and help develop the next generation of leaders who will take the company’s performance to the next level.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
Working with my team to accomplish – or even exceed – the demanding goals we set for ourselves is the most rewarding part of my job. The most challenging part is hearing that someone has been injured on the job and knowing how it will impact that person, and their colleagues, friends and family. I want everyone at Newmont to go home safely every day.
What are the company’s core values and how do your own values align with these?
Newmont’s values and my values are one and the same. They include safety and sustainability, which I’ve touched on; integrity, which means working ethically and respectfully everywhere we operate; responsibility, which means delivering on our commitments; and inclusion, which means creating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to contribute, develop and work together to deliver our strategy.
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How do you believe your previous roles helped prepare you for your current position?
Every role has taught me something about leadership, starting with the experienced miners who showed me the ropes as a new supervisor fresh out of college. Each team I’ve worked with has taught me something about people, and each country and commodity I’ve worked in has broadened my cultural and business horizons. Mining has been a lifelong education for me.
What traits do you look for when hiring new staff?
We look for people with the right skills and experience to perform well in the role, and values that fit with our culture. We’re also working to build a more diverse workforce to benefit from a wider range of views and backgrounds. To date, we’ve been successful in increasing the number of nationals and women in our leadership ranks, but we still have more work to do.
What do you believe are the most important qualities in a good leader?
In my experience, leaders need a clear vision of what success looks like and how to achieve it. Equally important is communicating that vision in terms that people can understand and get behind – which also requires an ability to listen. Finally leaders need to walk the talk. You have to demonstrate that you’re putting energy and discipline towards achieving your vision if you want people to come with you.
Please describe one or two accomplishments of which you are most proud. Why do these stand out?
My family is my strength, and the two accomplishments my wife Beth and I are most proud of are our children, Anna and Brian. Raising children requires you to learn as much as you teach, and watching them grow into the accomplished, interesting and compassionate people they are today has been my most rewarding job.
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On a more personal level, tell me a little more about you – something we can’t find online. For example: Who is your role model? What are you most passionate about? What inspires you on a daily basis?
I grew up in Wisconsin and am a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan. Being a Packers fan also means being a fan of Vince Lombardi, their coach in the 1960s and one of the best and most successful coaches in professional football history. A lot of what he did to create a winning team – and what he said about teamwork, commitment and leadership – really resonates with me.