Cynthia Carroll, chief executive of London-based mining group Anglo American, announced today that she is resigning from the company.
Shareholders, particularly two of the conglomerate’s largest investors – fund manager BlackRock and South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) – have grown increasing dissatisfied with Carroll’s strategic choices and are concerned with labor unrest at the company’s South African operations, the Financial Times reported.
Recently, South African workers held strikes at Anglo’s platinum mines near Rustenburg, Union and Amandelbult, slowing output; the company just this week announced production there would not meet expectations for 2012, the New York Times reported.
Since Carroll became CEO, Anglo shares have fallen by about one-quarter, the New York Times reported.
In a statement, PIC blamed Anglo’s underperformance compared with its competitors on its “capital allocation, poor project management and poor operational performance,” the Financial Times reported. These issues “rest squarely on the CEO’s shoulders, as the custodian of the company’s strategy,” the statement added.
But others defend Carroll, the Financial Times noted. “The old male guard have never really taken to her,” a top-20 investor told the Financial Times, adding that the strikes in South Africa and a dispute with Chilean state mining company Codelco were “good excuses to get rid of her.”
According to the New York Times:
Analysts generally gave Ms. Carroll good marks for running a complex multinational at a difficult time, noting that she had successfully carried out a major restructuring and cut Anglo American's work force to 100,000 from 150,000.
Carroll became the first woman and the first non-South African to head the mining company when she stepped into its top spot in March 2007, the New York Times reported. Her departure leaves just two women – Alison Cooper, head of Imperial Tobacco, and Angela Ahrendts, head of the Burberry Group – atop FTSE 100 companies.
Carroll said she would stay on as CEO until her replacement is found, a process that could stretch well into 2013, the Financial Times reported.