The head of one of Australia’s largest mining companies has announced his resignation.
Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s owner of $60bn miner Fortescue Metals stands aside as the company continues its transition to a green energy and resources conglomerate.
It was announced on Friday that chief executive Elizabeth Gaines would step down from the top post after nearly four years, but would remain on the board as a non-executive director.
She will lead the search for a replacement chief executive and will continue to serve as Fortescue’s “Global Green Hydrogen Brand Ambassador”.
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Fortescue said its transition from a pure iron ore and future-facing metals exploration group to a vertically integrated green energy and resources company was only possible through Gaines’ leadership.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the talented team in the business as we grow and diversify,” Ms. Gaines said Friday morning.
“My heartfelt thanks to everyone at Fortescue for their support during my time as CEO and I look forward to ensuring a successful handover to the appointed successor of the board and continuing as CEO until I am subsequently appointed as CEO.” – does not convert to the role of Executive Director.”
Ms. Gaines joined Fortescue Metals in 2013 as chief financial officer – when shares were priced at just over $3 – and was appointed the company’s boss in February 2018.
Dr. Forrest – who founded the company – is the chairman and owns a controlling stake.
He said he had hired consulting firm Egon Zander to identify a new CEO and other leaders with exceptional skills and global experience in heavy industry, manufacturing and renewable energy.
Shares of Fortescue Metals fell 2.3 percent to a low of $17.83 shortly after Friday’s leadership announcement.
The share price of Fortescue Metals — as well as the value of its key local rivals BHP and Rio Tinto — has taken a beating since hitting record highs in August, with a drop matching the fall in red-hot iron ore prices.
However, during that time, Fortescue has increased its focus on green technology and renewable energy, with Dr. Forest announcing a series of high-profile hydrogen and renewable energy projects through a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue Future Industries. .
Fortescue said Friday that its push into the renewables sector has resulted in the world’s largest portfolio of green hydrogen, green ammonia, green iron ore, green iron and other green product developments.
Nevertheless, the company benefited greatly from rising wholesale metal prices during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, taking its market cap to $80bn at one point.
The iron ore boom helped the company post record-breaking profits in FY 2010 and FY 2011 and a hefty dividend payout to shareholders – which included a $2.4 billion parcel for Dr. Forrest alone.