AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) (JSE: ANG) has appointed former BHP executive Alberto Calderón as its new CEO, ending almost a year without a top boss that followed Kelvin Dushnisky’s sudden departure last July.
Calderón, a 61-year-old Colombian with more than two decades of executive experience in the mining sector, will be starting in his new role on Sept. 1, the company said.
A junior minister in a government that fought drug lord Pablo Escobar and his Medellín Cartel, Calderón was chief executive of Orica Ltd, an Australian explosives maker, until February this year.
The Ivy League economist, who was one of the top candidates for the top job at BHP before the position went to Andrew Mackenzie, once also run Cerrejón Coal Co., recently acquired by Glencore.
The world’s third-biggest gold miner had been on the hunt for a new chief executive since the sudden departure of Kelvin Dushnisky last year.
His experience and contacts in the home country will come in handy as AngloGold is moving forward with key expansions in Colombia, including its Gramalote joint venture with B2Gold (TSX:BTO) (NYSE:BTG). The asset is at the centre of long-dragged mining rights dispute with Canada’s Zonte Metals, that remains active.
Calderón said one of his priorities will be to improve the credibility of AngloGold Ashanti with investors, noting that the No. 3 gold producer is trading far lower than bigger rivals Newmont and Barrick.
AngloGold Ashanti has had a bad year, with the company’s lack of a permanent chief executive officer and a suspension of its Obuasi mine in Ghana weighing on the stock.
Investors reacted positively to the appointment of Calderón. The company’s shares climbed as much as in 6.7% pre-market in New York and closed almost 6% higher in in Johannesburg, the most in seven weeks.
The new CEO will have to take on the company’s battle to repatriate more than $461 million of its profit from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and resolve challenges with value added tax with the government in Tanzania.
He may also have to decide whether AngloGold should move its primary listing from Johannesburg — a topic discussed for years.
Christine Ramon will remain as interim CEO as Calderón assumes the position, and she will return to her role as the company’s CFO.
During her year at the top job, Ramon la out a plan to expand output at key operations in Tanzania, Ghana and Guinea. She also talked about investing more than $2 billion in two new mines in Colombia from 2022.