When Mark Cutifani took over running Anglo American Plc in April 2013, things were already going from bad to worse. Now, they’re existential.
While the Australian chief executive officer talked of “grim” markets, job losses and abandoning businesses for years, it’s turned into a question of survival as he tries to salvage a century-old company from the wreckage of over-expansion funded by billions of dollars of debt.
Anglo and Cutifani have faced criticism for moving too slowly on an overhaul that’s been derided by some as too vague and lacking the urgency required in the current “doomsday” environment. In his first public appearance since revealing the audacious turnaround plan in December, Cutifani, 57, told a conference in Cape Town on Monday that this year is looking like the “most challenging yet” for the industry.
“Either that value is unlocked by Mark Cutifani, or Anglo gets taken out or broken up,” said Paul Gait, a mining analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. who used to work in corporate finance at Anglo American. “The question now is which will manifest itself first: a successful execution of Cutifani’s restructuring plan, or an exhaustion of shareholder patience to tolerate Anglo American in its current form?”
Anglo American, once South Africa’s biggest company, is among the largest and most high-profile victims of the commodity collapse.
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