Newmont Mining CEO to depart, COO to succeed him

Mon Dec 3, 2012 4:26pm EST
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By Julie Gordon and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

(Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N: Quote) on Monday said Chief Executive Richard O'Brien will step down, making it the third major gold miner this year to replace its top manager as the industry seeks to boost dwindling production and control mushrooming costs.

O'Brien, 58, will step down on March 1 as head of the world's No. 2 gold producer and also will retire from the board. Chief Operating Officer and President Gary Goldberg will take the reins.

Goldberg, 53, joined Newmont in December 2011. He will face the task of reviving Newmont, where annual gold sales are down about 15 percent since 2006 as it has struggled with rising costs and falling output.

"They have no growth and over the last five years production has actually fallen," said George Topping, a mining analyst with Stifel Nicolaus in Toronto, adding that Goldberg will need to address operational issues at Newmont's existing mines.

Topping said Newmont will have to look for other assets to stabilize production.

"That's going to have to involve the acquisition of smaller mining companies," he said.

Other gold miners with recent top management shuffles include Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), where Aaron Regent was ousted from the top job at in June, and Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO: Quote), where Tye Burt lost his job at in August.

Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Newmont has struggled with development stage projects, including a delay at its $5 billion Conga project in Peru after violent protests over the massive gold mine. It also took a write-down as it shelved its Hope Bay development in Nunavut, a northern Canadian territory.   Continued...