Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll quits as share price lags

Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:51am EDT
 
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By Clara Ferreira-Marques and Sinead Cruise

LONDON (Reuters) - Anglo American's (AAL.L: Quote) Chief Executive Cynthia Carroll has quit after more than five years in the job, under pressure from investors over the mining group's lagging share price and continued dependence on strike-hit South Africa.

A geologist by training, New Jersey-born Carroll ruffled feathers when she moved from the aluminum industry to become the first non-South African, the first woman and the first outsider to take the top job at Anglo in 2007.

Rejecting suggestions Carroll was pushed out, Chairman John Parker, her long-standing supporter, said there had been "differences of opinion" with shareholders but the decision to step down was Carroll's own, as she approached her seventh year in a "very grueling and demanding role".

"Institutional pressure has been building for some time to replace Cynthia, so the news will be welcomed," one of Anglo's 15 largest shareholders said.

"Ultimately, running Anglo is one of the toughest jobs around and, although Cynthia made a good start as CEO, the feeling is the company has gone backwards in the last two to three years."

Carroll's efforts to streamline a mining group with colonial roots that became a sprawling conglomerate, her campaign to cut billions in costs and efforts to shift Anglo's centre of gravity away from South Africa have won her support among investors.

A campaign to improve ties with South Africa's government has also won praise - South Africa's mines minister, Susan Shabangu, said Carroll's departure was a "disappointment".

But Carroll's relationship with investors became troubled after big-ticket acquisitions such as the Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil - an early bid to diversify Anglo's portfolio, which suffered cost overruns and delays.   Continued...