Gold Mining Giants Seek New CEOs as Another Plans Exit

Gold Fields Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland

Gold Fields Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Nick Holland will step down in September next year, as South Africa lost a second gold-mining boss in less than a month.

Holland will depart the Johannesburg-based producer after reaching the company’s official retirement age of 63. The news comes after the abrupt departure of Kelvin Dushnisky, his counterpart at AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., was announced at the end of July. Gold Fields will soon join AngloGold in looking for a successor.

“A global search for a suitable replacement will commence soon,” Chairwoman Cheryl Carolus said in a speech at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

Holland is leaving after announcing plans to build an $860 million mine in Chile as part of Gold Fields’ strategy to expand outside its home country. The CEO of 13 years has been instrumental in efforts to turn around South Deep, the producer’s last remaining mine in South Africa.

Share performance during Nick Holland’s tenure as CEO
Gold Fields, founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1887, has previously been under pressure from investors to end years of losses at South Deep, which sits on the world’s second-biggest known body of gold-bearing ore. Those efforts are starting to bear fruit, Holland said on a conference call.

“South Deep has been a tough nut to crack, and we have had a number of false starts here, but I do think it’s different this time and we are on track,” Holland said.

Both Gold Fields and AngloGold have shifted focus to more profitable operations in Africa, Australia and the Americas as the gold industry in South Africa dwindles amid the geological challenges and soaring costs of the world’s deepest mines.

Holland’s retirement, which was earlier reported by Business Day, is a carefully managed process, the CEO said. Gold Fields’s managers, including Chief Financial Officer Paul Schmidt, will ensure a smooth succession, Holland said.

“There’s a very good management team and Paul has been with me for a long, long time,” Holland said. “I don’t think there’s going to be any issue of continuity and we want to do this in a way that is least disruptive.”

Gold Fields shares fell 0.5% in Johannesburg trading.

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