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Barrick Gold Corp. founder and chairman Peter Munk will step down at the company’s next annual meeting and hand over the reins to the miner’s co-chairman John Thornton, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The company, which Mr. Munk built into the world’s largest gold producer, is expected to formally announce Mr. Munk’s retirement and changes to Barrick’s board after directors meet Wednesday.
In November, Barrick signalled in a regulatory filing that Mr. Munk would retire by the next annual meeting and said it would provide a corporate governance update, including decisions on the board and Barrick’s executive compensation arrangements.
The announcement came after Barrick’s institutional investors, including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said there were not enough independent directors on Barrick’s board and voted overwhelmingly against Mr. Thornton’s $11.9-million signing bonus.
Since then, Barrick has reached out to its shareholders to listen to their concerns. Barrick’s board features several high-profile directors, such as former prime minister Brian Mulroney, and long-standing members. Howard Beck, a former senior partner of the law firm, Davies, Ward & Beck, and William Birchall, a former vice-chairman of Trizec Hahn real estate company, have served on the board since the company was established in the early 1980s.
Mr. Thornton, a former president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, first joined Barrick in 2011 and served on the company’s international advisory board. Mr. Thornton then moved to Barrick’s main board in February, 2012, and became co-chairman when Barrick’s former chief executive officer Aaron Regent was ousted and replaced by the company’s chief financial officer Jamie Sokalsky in June of last year.
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