Newmont Mining Corp., the largest U.S. gold producer, appointed Gary Goldberg to replace Richard O’Brien as chief executive officer from March 1.
O’Brien, 58, will retire from the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company’s board at the same time, Newmont said today in a statement. He has led Newmont since July 2007. Goldberg joined Newmont as chief operating officer in December 2011 from Rio Tinto Group, where he was CEO of its industrial-minerals unit.
The change “is a reflection of succession planning, more than anything else,” Omar Jabara, a Newmont spokesman, said by phone today. “It’s something we’ve been preparing for for some time.”
Newmont’s announcement comes amid a wave of management changes as gold producers struggle to contain costs that are rising at a faster pace than the gold price. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s biggest gold producer, said June 6 it was “disappointed” by its share-price performance and fired Aaron Regent as CEO, replacing him with Chief Financial Officer Jamie Sokalsky.
Goldberg’s appointment appears to have been planned for some time, said George Topping, a Toronto-based analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Goldberg, who joined Newmont as COO and executive vice-president, was promoted to COO and president of the company in July.
“It looks to me as if Gary Goldberg has been groomed for this position,” Topping said today in a phone interview. He hasn’t changed his recommendation or valuation of the company as a result of the CEO change.
Newmont fell 3 percent to $45.68 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 24 percent this year.