Platinum miner Lonmin (LSE: LMI.L - news) on Friday said chief executive Ian Farmer, off work since August owing to "serious illness", was stepping down permanently from his role at the troubled group.
Lonmin, the crisis-hit platinum miner, formally began its search for a new chief executive after Ian Farmer resigned due to ill health.
Mr Farmer had already stepped away from his duties in August, as he was treated for what the FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) company has described as a “serious illness”. He is now leaving the role with immediate effect.
Simon Scott will continue as Lonmin’s acting CEO while an executive search company looks for a successor to Mr Farmer, the company said. Mr Scott has asked that he is not considered as a candidate for the post and is set to return to his role as chief financial officer.
The absence of a permanent leader has worried investors looking for a recovery strategy from the company. Lonmin had one of the most stretched balance sheets in the sector even before it was hit in September by strikes at its flagship Marikana platinum mine, which became the backdrop for South Africa’s worst violence since the end of apartheid.
Mr Farmer’s resignation comes at a point when the company is more financially stable than it has been in recent months, having in November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) won shareholders’ backing for a $817m (£508m) rights issue.
Roger Phillimore, Lonmin’s chairman, said of Mr Farmer: “We will greatly miss Ian’s ability, commitment and drive which he has devoted to the company over a career spanning more than 26 years.
“He has been CEO for the last four years and the consistent improvement in Lonmin’s operating performance over that period owes much to his leadership. We wish him well with his ongoing treatment.”
Lonmin shares fell 3.7 to 2818p.