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The logic behind Barrick Gold’s management shakeup

The logic behind Barrick Gold’s management shakeup

In an unusual turn of events, the world’s largest gold producer has reshuffled its management structure, scrapping its “co-president” title and appointing Kelvin Dushnisky as sole president of Barrick Gold effective immediately.

The Toronto-based Barrick will continue to go without a chief executive officer, which is highly uncommon for a large company.

"As we work to accelerate Barrick’s return to the lean, decentralized model that drove the company’s early success, the time is right to put a structure in place that supports this vision,” said Barrick Chairman John L. Thornton.

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Until now, Dushnisky was sharing the president duties with Jim Gowans, who will now act as senior adviser to Chairman John Thornton until Gowans retires at the end of the year. Other management changes include appointing Richard Williams, previously chief of staff, to chief operating officer. Basie Maree, most recently senior vice president, technical services has been appointed chief technical officer.

"As President, Kelvin will ensure the entire company remains focused on our primary objective, maximizing free cash flow per share from a portfolio of high-quality gold assets in our core regions. As Chief Operating Officer, Richard will drive organizational efficiencies, with a focus on enabling our mine managers to deliver on our business objectives. Basie will provide strategic technical advice and support to the operations, ensuring our mine managers have the information and tools they need to realize the full potential of each mine,” said Thornton.

Understanding the changes

The shifting of management is all part of a “back to the future” strategy to get Barrick back to its entrepreneurial roots, according to Thornton. The company continues to struggle throughout the current bear market for gold. However, Barrick is on par to meet its debt reduction target of $3 billion this year, with plans to reduce spending by an additional $2 billion by the end of 2016.

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Another component to Thornton’s plan is giving ore authority and accountability to the mine managers at the company’s operations.

“As we become leaner, more efficient and more keenly focused on a smaller number of core assets, we are empowering our leaders in the field to function as true business owners. We believe that with the right talent in place, the best business decisions are made closest to the ground,” Thornton said.

The management change comes one year after the arrival of John Thornton as chairman for Barrick Gold.

Read the entire press release here.

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