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Mark Cutifani steps down as Anglo American CEO after 9 years in charge

·2-min read
Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani (REUTERS)
Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani (REUTERS)

FTSE 100 mining giant Anglo American has announced that CEO Mark Cutifani will step down after 9 years in charge of the business.

Cutifani will step down next April at the company’s AGM and be replaced by current strategy director Duncan Wanblad. The transition marks the end of an almost a decade in charge for Cutifani, who was appointed in 2013. He has previously signaled a desire to step down in 2022.

Cutifani said leading AngloAmerican was the “greatest privilege of my working life”.

In the early years of his tenure, Cutifani oversaw one of the biggest overhauls in the mining industries in response to a slump in commodity prices in the middle of the last decade. Anglo cut 85,000 jobs and offloaded more than half of its mines. Cutifani also faced a shareholder rebellion over pay in 2016. He told journalists today that it “felt like nine years in the first two”.

More recently, Cutifani has helped to drive forward climate and environmental plans at Anglo American. The company spun out its polluting thermal coal assets earlier this year.

“Together, we have transformed our competitive position and led the way towards a very different future for mining – a safer, smarter future that delivers enduring value for all our stakeholders,” Cutifani said. “By delivering our promises, we have established the credibility and capabilities that are the foundation for Anglo American’s next phase of growth.”

Duncan Wanblad (Anglo American)
Duncan Wanblad (Anglo American)

The Australian has made improving safety in mining a major focus of his time in charge, reducing mining fatalities from 15 in the year he took charge to 4 in 2019. Cutifani said he hoped his legacy would be imbuing the business with a sense of purpose.

Anglo chair Stuart Chambers thanks Cutifani and said he had done an “incredible job” for which the board were “enormously grateful”.

Chambers said Wanblad, 54, was the “stand out candidate” to take over from Cutifani following a global search. Wanblad promised to continue a focus on sustainability and climate concerns, saying these issues would only become “more and more significant.”

Mining has a thorny position in the push to protect the planet. Environmentalists decry the impact of mining on the planet but plans for a net zero future involve batteries that rely on metals dug out of the ground.

Anglo employs almost 100,000 people around the world and mines everything from iron ore to diamonds. The company, which also owns diamond business De Beers, had revenues of $30 billion last year.

Cutifani leaves Anglo American’s share price around 75% higher than when he joined. The company has benefited from a global boom in commodity prices post-pandemic, which has sent Anglo shares 40% higher over the last 12 months. In July the company announced plans to return $4.1 billion to shareholders.

Anglo American shares rose 60p or 2.2% to 2780p this morning.

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