John Thornton is a Goldman Sachs alumnus educated at Yale, Harvard and Oxford. Mark Bristow is a South African geologist and big-game hunter.
Together, this corporate odd couple has a plan to turn around the lagging fortunes of the world’s largest gold-mining company, whose shares are down 67 percent from their high in 2010. Thornton, executive chairman of Barrick Gold Corp., set the partnership in motion when he announced a deal for smaller rival Randgold Resources Ltd. for $5.4 billion in September. He tapped Bristow, Randgold’s chief executive officer, to be the CEO of the combined companies.