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Barrick Gold Corp. is scrapping its unusual “co-president” management structure less than a year after it went into effect.
Co-president Kelvin Dushnisky has been appointed Barrick’s sole president, the company said Monday morning. Until now, Dushnisky was sharing the president duties with Jim Gowans. Barrick announced that Gowans will retire at the end of this year, which was a surprise.
A couple of other management appointments were made in conjunction with these moves. Chief of staff Richard Williams has been named chief operating officer and will report directly to Dushnisky. Williams is a very unconventional choice for a COO, as he has a military background rather than a technical mining background. However, he will be assisted by Basie Maree, a mining veteran who was promoted to chief technical officer.
“As we work to accelerate Barrick’s return to the lean, decentralized model that drove the company’s early success, the time is right to put a structure in place that supports this vision,” chairman John Thornton said in a statement.
Spokesman Andy Lloyd added that given the difficult market conditions in the gold sector, the time was right for Barrick to “accelerate” the transitions in the organization, with the ultimate goal of maximizing free cash flow.
Toronto-based Barrick will continue to go without a chief executive officer, which is highly unusual for such a large company. However, Thornton takes a very hands-on role and is viewed by investors as the de facto CEO.
He has made enormous changes to Barrick since become chairman last year, cutting middle management jobs and re-focusing on its gold business. It is all part of a “back to the future” strategy he has outlined to get the company back to its entrepreneurial roots.
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