Market leadership CEO’s goal – by Scott Larson (Regina Leader-Post – July 14, 2014)

Plans to maintain, expand status

THE STARPHOENIX – Jochen Tilk is beginning to settle into his new role as president and CEO of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, the largest fertilizer company in the world.

The 50-year-old has been on the job just a week after taking over from the retiring Bill Doyle, who spent the last 15 years as CEO and president overseeing the massive growth of the company.

Tilk has 30 years of experience in mining, most recently as president and CEO of Inmet Mining, a Canadian company with global operations. He now takes over the reins of a company in a sector that has weathered a few rough years.

Last July, the $20-billion global potash market was rocked when industry giant OAO Uralkali, the Russian half of BPC, split with its Belarusian partner, sending potash prices down 25 per cent.

This year, PotashCorp laid off 1,045 employees, or almost 20 per cent of its workforce. Tilk spoke to The Star-Phoenix about his goals and expectations for Potash-Corp. What follows is an edited version of that conversation.

SP: Your initial thoughts about Saskatoon? Tilk: It’s exciting. I’ve lived in quite a few places in my mining career that were smaller communities. They were all brilliant communities and coming here reminded me of those days. It’s a tight community, it’s a community full of friendly people.

SP: What is your attraction to becoming CEO of Potash-Corp?

Tilk: There is a tremendous team here, tremendous people at the operations. It is international (and) I was very much used to a company that had production facilities outside of its core. And it’s about leadership, it’s about guiding people toward optimization … And finally it is all about being in an industry that has very complex commercial, technical and social challenges. I find it intriguing to be part of the solution of those challenges.

SP: What are the strengths of PotashCorp, and the future opportunities?

Tilk: The strength really lies in the people and the quality of the assets. You have the best group you can possibly imagine. There is so much experience … I think by every measure you can possibly apply you come to the conclusion that the PotashCorp team – from this office to operations abroad – is the best in the industry. The second is the potash resources we have in Saskatchewan …

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