Welcome to The Assay roundup of people and talent shifts over the past year, focusing on movements across leading global mining and resources companies.
The value of mining companies has traditionally been defined in terms of commodity prices, ore quality, location, equipment, and physical assets. However, talent is increasingly being elevated from an enabler to a true value driver.
Miners can enhance performance through comparatively low-cost investment in talent and within shorter timeframes than can be achieved by modifying the physical attributes of an asset. For example, an effective metallurgist and mine planner, or a talented commodity analyst, can quickly make a significant impact on a mining company’s value.
Leading the way in talent moves this year, Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), a major global mining group, appointed Dean Dalla Valle and Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz as non-executive directors in March of this year.
Dalla Valle brings four decades of operational and project management experience in the resources and infrastructure sectors, having previously held the position of commercial officer at BHP, and CEO of Pacific National. He is an experienced nonexecutive director and currently serves as chair of Hysata, a hydrogen technology company.
Lloyd-Hurwitz has extensive leadership experience in Australia’s built-environment sector, having been CEO and managing director of Mirvac Group for over a decade. She is known for her transformational leadership on cultural change, gender equity, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability.
Rio Tinto chairperson, Dominic Barton, said the two new appointees would deepen the board’s capabilities and experience in key growth areas for Rio.
An effective metallurgist and mine planner, or talented commodity analyst, can quickly make a significant impact on a mining company’s value
In October, Rio selected James “Joc” O’Rourke as a non-executive director. O’Rourke, a dual Canadian-Australian national, will stand for election at the the company’s annual general meetings in 2024.
O’Rourke has more than 25 years’ experience across the mining and minerals industry. He has been the CEO of the Mosaic Company, an integrated producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash, since 2015. Prior, O’Rourke was president of Australia Pacific for Barrick Gold, where he led 10 gold and copper mines in Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Additionally, Craig Miller joined Anglo American Platinum (JSE: AMS) as CEO in October, following Natascha Viljoen’s decision in February to take up the COO role at Newmont Corporation.
Norman Mbazima, chairman of Anglo American, said, “I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to Craig Miller in his new role. Throughout the past four years, Craig has been an invaluable member of the leadership team and our board, leading strategy development and execution and driving successful cost and value optimization across the business.
In his new position, Craig will continue to prioritize safe, stable, and capable operations while fostering our high-performance culture, all aimed at delivering sustainable ounces and industry-leading returns through the cycle.”
Prior to joining Anglo American Platinum in 2019, Craig held numerous roles across Anglo American, including group financial controller as well as, chief financial officer of the iron ore business in Brazil and coal business in South Africa. Craig began his career as a trainee accountant at Deloitte in Johannesburg, South Africa and joined Anglo American in London as a finance manager in May of 2000.
In addition, Anglo American (LON: AAL) announced the appointment of John Heasley as finance director this past July, following Stephen Pearce’s retirement.
John Heasley has served as the CFO of The Weir Group PLC (the FTSE100 listed global engineering company), since 2016. As CFO, John has played a significant role in Weir’s transformation, focusing on mining and the strategic delivery of technologies that improve productivity and sustainability in the mining industry, as well as driving performance improvement programmes.
Commenting on his appointment, Heasley said, “I’m proud and excited to be appointed finance director of Anglo American. As CFO of a major supplier to the mining industry, I have for many years been passionate about the role of technology, innovation, and operational excellence in helping to fundamentally change the future of mining.”
Heasley is subject to a standard Anglo American plc employment contract, which includes a notice period of 12 months. His remuneration package will comprise a basic salary of £810Kpa, plus variable incentive arrangements which are in line with Anglo American’s salary policy.
Newmont (NYSE: NEM), a predominant gold producer, announced in February that Natascha Viljoen will join the company as chief operating officer upon completion of her 12 month notice period at Anglo American Platinum.
After an onboarding period, Natascha assumed accountability for the Australian, North American, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) business units. Newmont believes she will further strengthen the company’s technical, operational, and management capabilities. Natascha is expected to assume full accountability for all units in early 2024.
Newmont also welcomed Karyn Ovelmen as executive vice president and chief financial officer in Q2 2023. She will be focusing on financial discipline and maintaining a robust and flexible balance sheet to support Newmont’s capital allocation strategy.
Most recently, Karyn held a position on the board at Hess Corporation and Arcelor Mittal. Prior to this, she assumed CFO roles for complex and capital-intensive companies in the resource and energy sectors. Meanwhile, mining giant and aspiring green hydrogen producer Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG) recruited Dr. Larry Marshall to its board as a non-executive director.
The former CSIRO chief executive is an experienced scientist, investor, and business leader, with the company backing his skills as complementary to those of the Fortescue board. He was chief executive for CSIRO from 2015 to 2023, making him the national science agency’s longest serving chief executive in the past 50 years.
Further, he led a transformation that resulted in the organization’s first period of growth in three decades, significantly increasing stakeholder value.
Dr. Andrew Forrest AO, Fortescue executive chairman explained that Dr. Marshall’s experience in founding companies to drive innovation was a key factor in the decision to appoint him, “We are 100% science-based in our approach to reducing emissions and phasing out fossil fuels, and Larry’s appointment is a reflection of this.”
Finally, Neal Sheorey joined Albermarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB) as executive vice president and CFO on 6 November.
The company reported that Scott Tozier, Albemarle’s current executive vice president and chief financial officer, will subsequently adopt the role as a strategic advisor to the CEO.
Sheorey joins Albemarle from Dow, a global materials science company, where he served for more than 20 years in progressive finance, business, and corporate leadership roles.
Most recently, he was vice president of Dow’s Coatings & Performance Monomers business unit, where he was responsible for the group’s strategy, profitability, and growth initiatives.
This year has seen a large number of people moves across predominant mining companies, and the redefining of what constitutes a valuable company in challenging commodity markets. A well-managed, motivated, and trained workforce is a core driver for productivity and safety, with securing talent at the top of miners’ agendas.