Anglo American begins quest to unearth next CEO – by Clara Denina and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – January 15, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Anglo American (AAL.L) has promoted a section head it considers to have CEO potential, focusing its attention on internal talent as it begins searching for a successor to the man who steered the mining company through the 2015-16 commodities price slump.

CEO Mark Cutifani has won plaudits for his stewardship since taking the helm in 2013, though his strategic ability has been questioned in some quarters despite Anglo shares climbing around 12 percent last year, outperforming London-listed peers including Glencore (GLEN.L) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L)(RIO.AX).

Analysts say that Cutifani deserves credit for driving efficiency but some remain critical of a decision to halt debt-reducing asset disposals, even though this helped the company to benefit from the upturn in prices for commodities such as iron ore and coal.

Company sources say Cutifani is happy to stay beyond his 2020 mandate and that shareholders are not against the idea, but they added that newly promoted Duncan Wanblad is regarded as a potential successor.

Anglo American declined to comment. Wanblad was named early this month as group director of strategy and business development, effective from March, having held the dual role of base metals business leader and business development director since 2013.

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