UPDATE 2-Barrick Gold signals founder Peter Munk to step down

Fri Nov 8, 2013 3:42pm EST
 
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* Equity offering weakness spurs Munk departure-sources

* Pascua-Lama raised questions about Munk leadership

* Barrick says trying to address investor concerns

* Filing lays out timeline for Munk departure

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp signaled on Friday that founder and Chairman Peter Munk is likely to step down from the board at next year's annual meeting, a move sources pinned to concerns surrounding the gold miner's recent $3 billion equity offering.

Sources familiar with the situation say banks underwriting the huge offering have struggled to sell as much as one third of the shares on offer, amid investor concern around corporate governance issues within Barrick, specifically the number of independent board members and the role of Munk.

Munk, 86, has always driven Barrick's agenda: he started the company in 1983 and forged it into the world's largest gold producer. Recent missteps such as the shelving of the costly Pascua-Lama project in the Andes have prompted investors to question the leadership of a man once viewed as a visionary in the mining industry.

In an amended regulatory filing relating to the equity offering, one of the largest in Canadian history, Toronto-based Barrick said it is working to address shareholder concerns.   Continued...