Trouble at the top

African Barrick Gold is just one of scores of miners to have shaken up its management of late, prompted by challenging market conditions and a renewed focus on cost cuts after years of wayward spending during the heady days of the mining boom.

New chief executive Brad Gordon – who is luckily used to challenges after his stint at Intrepid Mines – is understood to want to build his own team around him as he looks to restructure African Barrick Gold’s assets and operations, so it is likely that he will choose a former colleague to replace old-guard chief operating officer Marco Zolezzi.

Gordon’s technical background compared to former chief executive Greg Hawkins’ finance experience is hoped to hold him in good stead when tackling the chief operating role on an interim basis.

African Barrick Gold currently has an acting rather than permanent chief financial officer as well, adding another decision to Gordon’s increasingly overburdened plate.

“The chief executive and the chief operating officer have been pushed out now,” said Cailey Barker, analyst at Numis.

“Zolezzi came into a difficult job in a company with a particular culture. Unlike some of its peers such as Randgold Resources, African Barrick Gold has a hierarchical, corporate structure with lots of reporting lines, when instead it needs to be small and nimble.”