So we’re all clear then on the proposed merger between Barrick Gold and Randgold Resources. Should the no-premium deal be approved as planned in the first quarter of next year, we will see a Barrick-branded entity run by Randgold’s Mark Bristow as CEO and his number two, Graham Shuttleworth, in the CFO’s chair.
Two-thirds of the board will be “initially” appointed by Barrick and one-third “initially” by Randgold. Randgold’s listing on the London Stock Exchange (the company is included in the FTSE 100 index) will be dumped in favour of Barrick’s share trading jurisdictions of New York and Toronto.
And Barrick shareholders, who have come through slaughter these past years, will be left to wonder: who are these new guys so suddenly in charge?
The standard bio on Bristow is that he’s a motorcycle-loving former South African army officer who, as he told the Guardian in an interview in 2011, saw active service against guerrillas in Swaziland and Angola. “It was a big thing being conscripted in 1977 and being sent straight to the border,” he said at the time. “You have to fight a war and you know sweet nothing about it. I’m amazed more of us didn’t get killed.”
Trained as a geologist (he has a PhD from what was the University of Natal) he co-founded Randgold in 1995, driven to create a pan-African pure gold play, which is what Randgold is today with mines operating in Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.