Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

AngloGold Ashanti has chosen Kelvin Dushnisky, president of the world number one gold producer Barrick Gold Corporation, to replace departing CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, looking outside the company for someone to manage its strategy to invest outside its SA home base

Dushnisky takes over the world’s third biggest gold miner by production on September 1, while Venkatakrishnan joins Indian miner Vedanta as CEO.

Kelvin Dushnisky. Picture: SUPPLIED
Kelvin Dushnisky. Picture: SUPPLIED

Dushnisky joins AngloGold shortly after the group reduced its South African footprint to one underground mine and a tailings retreatment project, favouring investments outside SA.

"Following AngloGold’s SA shake-up at the end of last year … now with the appointment of Dushnisky, we reiterate our view that AngloGold will pursue an exit strategy in the medium term," Macquarie analyst Yatish Chowthee said in a note.

"Retrospectively, AngloGold has not matched up to its global peers, that is Barrick, Newmont, Newcrest and Goldcorp, from a rating perspective. Although being the third largest global gold producer, exposure in SA has been a drag on the portfolio," Chowthee said.

He added: "Given Venkat [Venkatakrishnan] delivering on that mandate to reposition AngloGold as a low-cost gold producer, we believe by installing Dushnisky as the CE, the experience garnered by running Barrick would translate into meaningful activity that steers AngloGold up the ranks."

There had been debate in the market whether AngloGold would draw on the wealth of experience within the company or look for an outside appointment to steer the group.

"Following an extremely competitive global search, we’re pleased to name someone of Kelvin’s calibre and experience to lead this organisation," said chairman Sipho Pityana.

Dushnisky oversaw Barrick’s mines in Australia, Africa, North and South America and the Middle East, working closely with governments and on community relations, but his comments around AngloGold gave nothing away: "AngloGold Ashanti has a strong portfolio of assets and an exciting pipeline of organic growth opportunities."

His experience in dealing with the Tanzanian government in his role as chairman of Acacia Mining — a company spun out of Barrick — since 2013, and the souring relationship over royalties and taxes, will be called upon in his new role because AngloGold has Geita, one of its major mines, in that country.

"Whilst leaving unresolved Tanzanian challenges behind at Barrick through Acacia, Dushnisky would have to delve straight back into Tanzania as AngloGold seeks to resolve disputes with the government regarding royalties and ownership," said Chowthee.

"Furthermore, he would have to seek resolutions in Mali and work with Randgold in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whilst overseeing the reinvestment at Obuasi [in Ghana]."

seccombea@bdfm.co.za