AngloGold CEO Venkatakrishnan resigns to join Vedanta Resources

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

Venkatakrishnan will leave the Johannesburg-based miner at the end of August, AngloGold said in a statement Monday.

One analyst questioned why Venkatakrishnan would give up a clear role at AngloGold for one at Vedanta under an executive chairman and owner of the company with a range of interests from zinc, oil and gas, aluminium, power and copper.

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a "sell" rating to a "hold" rating in a research report issued on Monday.

Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan said: "Vedanta has an outstanding reputation as a global, diversified resources business with world-class assets and an exceptional team".

AngloGold previous year announced plans to halve its South African production by selling mines in an effort to stem losses in its home country, where aging infrastructure, reserve depletion and accidents have raised costs and reduced production.

"There is no reason for the company to stay here". Its portfolio includes 17 mines in South Africa, Continental Africa, Australasia, and the Americas.

Hochreiter said possible internal candidates included AngloGold Ashanti's group planning executive Graham Ehm and chief operating officer the Ludwig Eybers.

"Venkat has put profitability as a priority and tried to move the company to more mechanisation rather than conventional mining".

In August a year ago, Vedanta had appointed Kaura as interim chief executive to replace Tom Albanese.

Venkatakrishnan delivered on the "key aims" of unwinding a damaging hedge book, reducing debt levels, disposing of and curtailing loss-making operations, returning to positive free cash flows, adapting to a lower gold price environment and reinstating dividends after a three-year hiatus, said Macquarie analyst Yatish Chowthee. "Between 2005 and 2013, he was AngloGold Ashanti's Chief Financial Officer and prior to this he was CFO of London-listed Ashanti Goldfields Ltd", it said.

"My initial focus will be to ensure continued operational excellence, efficient cost management and capital discipline across the portfolio, while continuing to drive improvements to the overall sustainability performance of the business, thereby creating long-term value for all stakeholders".