Alas, poor Burt! Kinross’ board bids CEO a not-so-fond farewell – by Dorothy Kosich ( – August 2, 2012)

With the firing of Tye Burt, a second North American gold company head has rolled in less than two months. Is a 3rd cranium in the offing?

RENO (MINEWEB) –  One can anticipate that more than a few folks will shed no tears at the departure of Tye Burt as Kinross CEO.
Burt was so unpopular by the end of his seventh year at the helm of Kinross, that, by the end of last month, he inspired the “Tye Burt NEEDS to be FIRED” website, with the oracular address,
Several months after a nearly $3 billion write-down, Kinross’ board finally listened to a growing chorus of unhappy shareholders and analysts and fired Burt Wednesday. He was replaced as CEO by J. Paul Robinson, Kinross’ former executive vice president, corporate development.
As the Kinross board axed its former Caesar, it also praised him, acknowledging “Mr. Burt’s many corporate achievements” including a significant upgrade of the company’s portfolio to nine mines and five development projects in six nations; the building of a “much stronger balance sheet” which allowed the company to pay a semi-annual dividend; and generating “a substantial increase in gold resources and gold production while also improving the overall grade of such production.”
However, the board’s praise for Burt was also tempered by a condemnation: “While the board recognizes these achievements have contributed to the transformation of Kinross, the board has determined that in the view of current market and industry fundamentals, stakeholder interests will best be served by an executive management team focusing on the implementation and oversight of the comprehensive capital and project optimization process that was announced by the company on January 16, 2012.”
“The objective of this process is to improve capital efficiency and investment returns while optimizing the company’s major problems at Tasiast, Lobo Marte and Fruta Del Norte. The board has also determined that a change in CEO is required to guide Kinross through this capital and project optimization process.”
Like his predecessor, Rollison is a former investment banker. He also possesses degrees in geology and mining.
“Based on his education and related mining and investment banking industry experience, Paul understands all facets of the mining industry, including exploration and mining, mining finance and mining transactions. He is highly regarded and well-known throughout the industry, and possesses the leadership qualities we need to oversee and implement our strategy,” said Kinross Chairman John Oliver.
Hopefully, Rollison may also usher in a new era of transparency and openness at Kinross.
The shareholder and analyst war drums started beating when Burt engineered a deal to buy Red Back Mining for what was considered by some to be a high-priced $7.1 billion. While the deal gave Kinross possession of the massive underground Tasiast gold deposit in Mauritania, transforming the company into one of the fastest growing gold companies, it also angered some investors.
The Red Back acquisition would also torpedo Kinross shares to what was, at the time their lowest levels ever after the gold miner announced in January that it would take a nearly $3 billion write-down on Tasiast. At the time Kinross announced it was taking the Tasiast write-down, the company put the Fruta del Norte and Lobo Marte projects on the back burner.

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