Kelvin Dushnisky’s departure as president of Barrick Gold Corp. raises the question of whether his replacement will get more, or less, power at the world’s largest gold producer under Executive Chairman John Thornton.
Dushnisky, 54, is set to take over as chief executive officer of Johannesburg-based AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. as of Sept. 1, the miners said Monday. Dushnisky, a 16-year veteran at Barrick, worked up the corporate ladder to co-president, then president, where he became responsible for much of the work reducing debt and rationalizing operations. But high-level decisions were understood to be made by Thornton.
Jim Gowans served as co-president of Barrick with Dushnisky in 2014, when the company was struggling beneath a crippling debt burden. “We were selling operations, optimizing them, cutting the head office,” said Gowans, now CEO of Arizona Mining Inc.
With most of that heavy-lifting at Barrick done, and gold in a “transition period” as miners focus on depleting pipelines, Dushnisky will likely welcome the move from president to CEO, albeit at a smaller producer, Gowans said.
“It gives him an opportunity to be a CEO. Barrick has a unique structure with the executive chair. You were president but you weren’t really the CEO. I think that was probably a consideration.”
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