African Barrick COO Zolezzi Quits 3 Weeks After CEO Hawkins

African Barrick Gold Plc, the producer that has slumped 73 percent since it listed in London, said Chief Operating Officer Marco Zolezzi departed three weeks after the company’s chief executive officer left the company.

Zolezzi has resigned with immediate effect, African Barrick said in a statement today. Brad Gordon, who succeeded Greg Hawkins as CEO last month, will take direct responsibility for operations while a search for a replacement is underway.

African Barrick has been dogged by operational setbacks since it was spun off from Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. in 2010, and has struggled to meet production targets. The company is reviewing its operations to cut costs that have ballooned by 71 percent since 2010.

“This move is not a huge surprise, as this will allow Mr Gordon to place an immediate stamp on the business as he takes over the interim COO role before he finds his own choice,” Nomura Holdings Inc. said in a note to investors today.

African Barrick fell 5.7 percent to 157 pence by 9:30 a.m. in London extending its loss this year to 64 percent.

When African Barrick listed in London the company said it was targeting annual production of 1 million ounces in 2014. Instead, it has posted output declines for three consecutive years and has been surpassed by rivals Randgold Resources Ltd. and Petropavlovsk Plc.