Top Management Changes at Anglo American and Rio Tinto

In January 2013, Anglo American and Rio Tinto, two of the world’s largest diver-sified, multi-national mining companies, announced changes in top executive management.

On January 8, Anglo American announced the appointment of Mark Cutifani as the company’s chief executive, with effect from April 3, 2013. He has been CEO of AngloGold Ashanti since 2007. He replaces Cynthia Carroll, who announced her resignation as Anglo American’s chief executive on October 26, 2012, but who agreed to remain in her position until a successor was appointed and an appropriate transition has taken place (E&MJ, November 2012, p. 4).

Prior to becoming CEO of AngloGold Ashanti, Cutifani was the COO of CVRD Inco. He started his career in the coal and gold mining industries in Australia and has experience across a wide range of commodities. He has a degree in mining engi-neering and is the current president of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa.

On January 17, Rio Tinto announced that Tom Albanese had stepped down as its chief executive by mutual agreement with the Rio Tinto board of directors and that the company’s Iron Ore chief executive, Sam Walsh, had been appointed as his successor, effective immediately.

Also, Doug Ritchie, who as Rio Tinto’s Energy chief executive led the acquisition and integration of its Mozambique coal assets, stepped down by mutual agreement with the Rio Tinto board of directors.

The Rio Tinto announcement of top executive changes accompanied an announcement that the company expects to recognize non-cash impairment charges of approximately $14 billion (post tax) in its 2012 full-year results. These charges include $10 billion to $11 billion in the car-rying values of Rio Tinto’s aluminum assets (mostly Rio Tinto Alcan but also Pacific Aluminium) and approximately $3 billion relating to Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique. Rio Tinto also expects to report a number of smaller asset write-downs of about $500 million in its full-year 2012 results.

Rio Tinto acquired Alcan for $38 billion in 2007, not long after Albanese became the company’s chief executive in 2006. Along with the current write-down, Rio Tinto has written-down $28 billion of Alcan’s value.

The Rio Tinto announcement comment-ed that, “The further deterioration in alu-minum market conditions in 2012, togeth-er with strong currencies in certain regions and high energy and raw material costs, has had a negative impact on the current market values in the aluminum industry.”

Regarding Rio Tinto’s Mozambique coal investment, the announcement said, “In Mozambique, the development of infra-structure to support the coal assets is more challenging than Rio Tinto originally anticipated. Rio Tinto sought to transport coal by barge along the Zambezi river, but this option did not receive formal approvals.

“These infrastructure constraints, com-bined with a downward revision to esti-mates of recoverable coking coal volumes on the Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique tene-ments, have led to a reassessment of the overall scale and ramp up schedule of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, and consequently to the impairment announced today.

“Rio Tinto continues to engage with the government of Mozambique on all trans-port infrastructure options.”

As featured in Womp 2013 Vol 02 -