Barrick Gold hires John Baird, Newt Gingrich – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – March 27, 2015)

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Barrick Gold Corp. has tapped former foreign affairs minister John Baird and former top U.S. lawmaker Newt Gingrich to serve on its advisory board, the company said in regulatory filings.

Mr. Baird and Mr. Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will join other political heavyweights including former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on the miner’s international advisory board.

The board meets once a year and gives advice to the world’s biggest gold producer, which has operations in the Americas, Africa and Australia.

“The role of the board is to provide advice on geopolitical and other strategic issues that affect our business,” a company spokesman said. “Both Mr. Baird and Mr. Gingrich bring with them excellent credentials and experience in this regard,” he said. Mr. Mulroney chairs the board, which also includes former U.S. and German defense officials and a former prime minister of Spain.

No compensation details for Mr. Baird and Mr. Gingrich were disclosed in the filings. However, Mr. Mulroney, who stepped down as a Barrick director last year, received more than $1-million (Canadian) for his work as an adviser and board member, the filings said.

Mr. Baird and Mr. Gingrich join Barrick as the company repositions itself to deal with the prolonged slump in bullion prices.

Since Mr. Thornton took over as chairman last April, nearly every executive has been replaced, the board of directors has been overhauled and plans have been laid out to bring Barrick back to its roots, when it had a streamlined corporate structure and a healthy balance sheet.

Barrick increased Mr. Thornton’s pay to $12.9-million (U.S.) for 2014 compared with $9.5-million in the previous year, according to filings. Company co-president Kelvin Dushnisky earned $4.8-million. His counterpart, Jim Gowans, earned $7.3-million last year, including his signing bonus and other provisions. Kevin Thomson, a top m&a lawyer who joined Barrick in October as its executive in charge of strategic matters, earned $2.4-million, an amount that also included his signing bonus.

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