MARK Cutifani memorably described Anglo American’s project pipeline as “constipated” months after becoming the group’s CEO in 2013. Now, analysts are making a similar observation about his efforts to restructure the UK group. Why, they argue, has a fresh round of restructuring been launched when the first round is incomplete? And why has the group failed to issue shares to protect the balance sheet? Speaking at an investor day, Cutifani did his level best to explain, adding wryly that for all their criticism, analysts failed to forecast the rapid deterioration in commodity prices that is root cause of Anglo’s restructuring iterations. But analysts were savage saying the firm’s solvency was more urgent than its liquidity (access to debt). This is all in the past. Every day of 2016 is D-Day for Cutifani with the emphasis falling on delivery. The dividend has been suspended and policy switched to a payout ratio when resumed. Some 60% of the asset base will be sold, possibly including Minas Rio. Up to 80,000 jobs will or have been cut. But is it enough, and will it save Anglo’s investment grade credit rating? Focus will also fall on leadership appointments following a decision to cut business divisions from six to three. The South African market will look to Cutifani to lead the ongoing ‘conversation’ with the government whom he rounded upon in July at a speech in which he said policies should not change with each cabinet.
LIFE OF MARK
Cutifani has a degree in mining engineering from Wollongong University. He worked initially for a string of Australian gold miners, but then shifted to nickel becoming COO at Vale Inco before joining AngloGold Ashanti as CEO in 2007. He moved to run Anglo in April 2013. His support of Chelsea Football Club requires serious interrogation.
- Web Address: www.angloamerican.co.uk