Barrick Gold’s new chairman nixes CEO role, Sokalsky to resign – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – July 16, 2014)

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Barrick Gold Corp’s chief executive off Jamie Sokalsky will resign in September, the company announced in a surprise management shake up that will nix the CEO role and promote two senior managers to the roles of co-president.

The move comes less than three months after Barrick’s new executive chairman John Thornton took the reins of the world’s largest gold producer and is a blow to Mr. Sokalsky, who was instrumental in steering the company through the toughest year in its history.

Mr. Sokalsky, who rose through the ranks at Barrick to become its chief financial officer, was appointed chief executive in 2012 when the company’s former CEO Aaron Regent was ousted amid a weakening share price.

In the following two years, he helped put Barrick on sounder financial footing by raising funds to pay down the company’s debt load, suspending a key gold project in the Andes and selling off underperforming mines.

Mr. Sokalsky’s pending departure is also a blow to many Barrick employees, as well as to the company’s founder Peter Munk, who had used his last annual meeting of shareholders in April to praise his CEO and say he was part of the team that would restore the company.

Kelvin Dushnisky, a senior executive responsible for corporate and government affairs and Jim Gowans, chief operating officer, have been appointed as co-presidents. The company said the two men will be responsible for executing its “strategic priorities and operating plans.”

Barrick’s chief financial officer, Ammar Al-Joundi, will take on the additional title of “senior executive vice-president,” a move that formalizes the close working relationship the CFO has developed with Mr. Thornton.

Mr. Sokalsky’s resignation is effective Sept. 15 and will help with the transition, Barrick said in a statement. In a recent interview, Mr, Sokalsky said he loved Barrick and wanted to help take the company to the next stage after guiding Barrick through two bleak years.

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