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Anglo American picks insider as Cutifani successor

Long-serving chief executive Mark Cutifani, who saw the major miner through a bear market and has recently handed shareholders big dividends, will stand down at the April annual meeting
Anglo American picks insider as Cutifani successor
  • Mark Cutifani standing down in April
  • Insider with strategy and base metal background will replace him

One of the mining industry's most respected bosses, Mark Cutifani, will stand down from the chief executive position at Anglo American (AAL) next year. He has led the miner since 2013, a period including a downturn when metals prices and earnings tumbled, massive investment in new mines, and the recent surge in prices that has seen investor payouts soar. 

His replacement is Anglo head of strategy and former base metals boss Duncan Wanblad, a 54-year-old South African.

Reports of Wanblad's potential appointment appeared in August, while De Beers boss Bruce Cleaver had also been in the running. Cutifani has long said he would stand down after the completion of the Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, which will begin commissioning next year. 

Wanblad also has a mega mine build on his in-tray, in the Woodsmith fertiliser mine in North Yorkshire, while he will likely start the job in a period of lower metals prices. 

Bernstein analyst Danielle Chigumira said Cutifani would leave a "strong legacy", and by picking Wanblad the board had "paved the way for an orderly transition". She highlighted Cutifani's operational turnaround in the first years of his tenure. He had come in to the job with several messes to clean up, including the difficult Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil.

Anglo chair Stuart Chambers said the board was "enormously grateful" to Cutifani for his work since 2013. "He has led his executive team with distinction through thick and thin to transform Anglo American's performance and prospects," he added. 

Wanblad will come into the job on a base salary of £1.25m, with an annual bonus cap of 210 per cent of his salary, and long-term incentive plan cap of 300 per cent. Anglo's shares were up 2 per cent on the news.