Cliffs CEO Carrabba to leave Cleveland mining company by year’s end – by Alison Grant (Cleveland Plain Dealer – July 10, 2013)

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced this afternoon that Joseph Carrabba will retire as president and chief executive officer by Dec. 31. Laurie Brlas, president of global operations and the company’s former chief financial officer, has retired and will leave immediately, Cliffs said.

James Kirsch, who is lead director of Cliffs’ board, has been elected as non-executive chairman of the board, taking that position immediately, replacing Carrabba as chairman. Cliffs also said its board has elected Mark Gaumond, 62, former senior vice chair of Ernst & Young’s Americas division, as a new director.

Also today, Cliffs declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share. The dividend will be payable Sept. 3 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Aug. 15.

The Cleveland-based company has struggled with a softer Chinese construction market, cutting into its seaborne ore sales. Cliffs idled iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota and also announced in November it would postpone expansion of its Bloom Lake mine in Canada.

In June, Cliffs said it was putting the brakes on development of a chromite deposit in remote northern Ontario that it acquired three years ago.

Cliffs said it was halting environmental work on the project for now because of unresolved issues that include funding of a 300-mile road to the mine, approval of a Cliffs environmental analysis, and negotiations with Ontario officials and First Nation tribes whose traditional lands are in the region of the mine.

Cliffs’ shares have dropped 53 percent this year. They closed Tuesday at $16.39, up $0.43, or 2.7 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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