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Cliffs Hires Barrick Executive Halverson as Next CEO

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF), the biggest U.S. iron-ore producer, hired Gary Halverson from Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) to be its next chief executive officer.

Halverson, 55, formerly interim chief operating officer at Barrick, will start Nov. 18 as president and chief operating officer before eventually assuming the CEO role, Cleveland-based Cliffs said today in a statement. Cliffs CEO Joseph Carrabba, who announced his retirement in July, will leave Nov. 15.

Cliffs also said James Kirsch, currently non-executive chairman, will become executive chairman and lead the change in leadership. Kirsch, the former CEO of U.S. chemicals producer producer Ferro Corp. who was elected to the Cliffs board in June, will also focus on Cliffs’ long-term strategy in the coming months, according to the statement.

In February, Cliffs cut its quarterly dividend by 76 percent and raised $995 million selling equity after iron-ore prices plunged. Cliffs said in November it was postponing the expansion of its Bloom Lake mine in Canada, an asset the company acquired when it bought Consolidated Thompson Iron Ore Mines Ltd. for C$4.24 billion ($4.06 billion) in 2011. Cliffs wrote down the value of the Consolidated Thompson assets by $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Cliffs rose 6 percent to $24.99 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 35 percent this year.

Halverson led Toronto-based Barrick’s North American operations, which include 10 mines and 6,200 employees, Cliffs said. He has also managed mines in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in Toronto at gdevynck@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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