AngloGold Ashanti: Internal hunt now on for a new CEO
After the surprise resignation of the well-regarded Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan
The surprise resignation of the well-regarded Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan as CEO of AngloGold Ashanti to join Vedanta Resources is a case in point where an individual is conflated with the company’s strategy, a perception chairperson Sipho Pityana was at pains to point out was not the case as the gold company begins the hunt for a new head.
With strategy set by the board in close conjunction with the CEO, AngloGold’s strategy will not change, Pityana said after the market digested the morning news that Venkatakrishnan who has been with the company for 18 years – five of those as CEO – was leaving.A down-to-earth and accessible CEO, Venkatakrishnan, who was the financial director of the world’s third-largest gold miner, had clearly articulated the company’s strategy and unusually, as analysts pointed out, delivered on those commitments, bringing down costs, removing unprofitable mines and investing in fresh growth. Unfortunately, that strategy cut AngloGold’s historical footprint in South Africa to just a single mine and a tailings retreatment operation, but for shareholders it meant a better quality suite of assets around the world.
Internally, Venkatakrishnan was spoken of as a highly ethical executive who allowed his managers to get on with their jobs without interference but who demanded the best value possible from all decisions made within the company.
Leaving behind a strong group of managers and a clearly articulated strategy fully endorsed by the board must surely be one of Venkatakrishnan’s legacies. It does make finding his replacement a little easier, with the new CE likely to come from within the company itself, something that would allow AngloGold to seamlessly continue along its strategic trajectory.