New Anglo American CEO gets thumbs up from investors

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Investors have welcomed Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) 's appointment of Australian Mark Cutifani as its new Chief Executive.

Shares were trading up 2.7% at 1400 after the mining giant pinched Cutifani from AngloGold Ashanti (Other OTC: AULGF - news) to replace Cynthia Carroll.

Cutifani will take the reins in April (Paris: FR0004037125 - news) with a pay packet worth around £2.38m, including salary and bonuses.

He has been Chief Executive of AngloGold, the South Africa-based miner, since 2007 and led the restructuring and development of its business.

Anglo American's Chairman, Sir John Parker, said Cutifani was an experienced listed company chief executive with a focus on creating value.

"He is a seasoned miner, with broad experience of mining operations and projects across a wide range of commodities and geographies, including South Africa and the Americas," he said.

"Mark is a highly respected leader in the global mining industry, with values strongly aligned to those of Anglo American."

Cutifani is seen as a safe pair of hands in South Africa where economic stagnation, the threat of nationalisation, and highly publicised tensions with unions make the business of mining one fraught with difficulties.

One of his chief tasks will be to sort out the company's platinum business, AmPlats.

It suffered a series of wildcat strikes towards the end of 2012 before offering striking miners a wage hike to get them to go back to work.

The company has said its platinum mines are already operating on small margins and its earnings for the financial year could be down 20% on the year before.

"The appointment ticked one of the major boxes, which is getting experienced operational talent," Paul Gait, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein told Bloomberg news.

"His deep mining experience makes him a very different CEO from Cynthia but the strategic direction of the group is still uncertain. We don't expect anything on that for about six months."

Cynthia Carroll, the first woman and non-South African to run the company, announced she was leaving in October.

This followed pressure from some shareholders who were concerned about profit levels.

The company suffered a $14bn loss of market value over the course of her five year tenure.