Ian Telfer’s office at Goldcorp looks nothing like the rest of the company’s double story headquarters atop Park Place, a pink marble tower that is one of Vancouver’s largest skyscrapers.
The Goldcorp chairman’s corner suite overlooks a spectacular view, like an eagle’s nest atop the city. The walls are painted dark, giving the impression of a chic hotel lounge more than a workspace. Warm paintings of local landmarks decorate them. Ian Telfer, a trim, dapper figure and a giant of the gold business, is seated behind the desk. He shrugs his shoulders, nonchalantly, and tells me he bought the paintings from a local artist he found in a coffee shop.
I used to work in the building myself, as a summer student for RBC Dominion Securities. During a 2006 building renovation, there was a lot of buzz about the new tenant taking over the penthouse suite. That tenant was Goldcorp. Ian Telfer and Frank Giustra’s Wheaton River Minerals had successfully navigated the gold boom of the early 2000s and acquired Goldcorp to become Canada’s second largest producer. It was the talk of the town then and still is today.
I had no connections to the gold business then, but was curious about what was going on upstairs. It was a surreal experience to be back in the building last month to meet the man behind Goldcorp and hear his insights on an array of topics.
Telfer says he learned the resource business through osmosis, working alongside a group of extremely colourful and talented entrepreneurs.
His first job in mining was with brash Brazilian Eike Batista, who later became one of the world’s richest people, before losing nearly everything and landing in jail on bribery charges (wrongdoing which he denies). Their Brazil-focused gold venture, TVX Gold, eventually merged with Kinross (TSX:K), and the experience enabled Telfer to cut his teeth in the gold business and in Latin America; he lived in Brazil for five years and even learned Portuguese.
Following the TVX experience, Telfer was asked by legendary mine developer Robert Friedland to lead a much hyped Venezuelan gold explorer: Vengold.
For the rest of this interview: https://ceo.ca/@tommy/goldcorp-chairman-ian-telfer-interview