When Anglo American announced plans this week to rescue a huge UK mining project, its straight-talking chief executive Mark Cutifani was conspicuous by his absence.
Instead, it was chief financial officer Stephen Pearce who explained why Anglo had offered £386m to buy Sirius Minerals, the company struggling to develop a giant potash mine under the North York Moors.
That would be unthinkable at many miners but not at Anglo, which has experienced a remarkable change in fortunes since Mr Cutifani, who exudes an easy Australian charm, took the helm in 2013.
Under the 61-year-old industry veteran, Anglo has been transformed from the sector’s laggard into a miner that can go head-to-head with Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP.
“He’s one of the best CEOs I have recruited . . . and a tremendous team player,” said John Parker, who chaired Anglo for eight years until 2017. “There’s not a trace of arrogance in Mark. He’s not one of these egotistical CEOs. He always has his feet on the ground and will always give his team their head and their credit.”
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