Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM:US), the largest U.S. gold producer, appointed Gary Goldberg to replace Richard O’Brien as chief executive officer from March 1.
O’Brien, 58, will retire from the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company’s board at the same time, Newmont said today in a statement. He has led Newmont since July 2007. Goldberg joined Newmont as chief operating officer in December 2011 from Rio Tinto Group, where he was CEO of its industrial- minerals unit.
The change “is a reflection of succession planning, more than anything else,” Omar Jabara, a Newmont spokesman, said by phone today. “It’s something we’ve been preparing for for some time.”
Newmont’s announcement comes amid a wave of management changes as gold producers struggle to contain costs that are rising at a faster pace than the gold price. Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX), the world’s biggest gold producer, said June 6 it was “disappointed” by its share-price performance and fired Aaron Regent as CEO, replacing him with Chief Financial Officer Jamie Sokalsky.
Goldberg’s appointment appears to have been planned for some time, said George Topping, a Toronto-based analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Goldberg, who joined Newmont as COO and executive vice-president, was promoted to COO and president of the company in July.
“It looks to me as if Gary Goldberg has been groomed for this position,” Topping said today in a phone interview. He hasn’t changed his recommendation or valuation of the company as a result of the CEO change.
Newmont fell 3 percent to $45.68 at the close in New York. The shares (NEM:US) have declined 24 percent this year.
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