Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Nick Holland

Nick Holland

Gold Fields

NICK Holland has given up forecasting numbers for South Deep. Instead, he unveiled another ‘back-to-basics’ strategy at the South African gold mine including hiring Nico Muller as its head who then styled it ‘dysfunctional’, a moment of soothsaying that referred to a decision to hire Australians expert in mechanisation at a time when 1,500 South Africans were being retrenched. Instead of the forecast 650,000 ounces a year by 2017, South Deep is hoping to better only the 200,000 oz/year 2015 forecast. Still, Holland has steadied the ship at Gold Fields, seeing off a troubling SEC investigation over a BEE deal at South Deep, and trimming the portfolio. There are, however, questions about the sustainability of Darlot, the mine bought in 2013 as part of Yilgarn South from Barrick for the ridiculously low $300m. Holland must also decide whether to plough $100m into Ghana’s Damang or shutter it for better days. Holland is a stout gold bull, but he thinks South Africa is reacting too slow to mechanise its mines, a trend he describes as a bus that won’t stop. He irritated rivals by settling wage talks early, and confounded analysts by using an optimistic $1,300/oz gold price to estimate group resources. Yet as demonstrated by his colourful sartorial choices, Nick Holland is his own man.

LIFE OF NICK

Holland has been on the Gold Fields board for nearly 20 years in various roles, taking executive leadership in 2008 from predecessor, Ian Cockerill. Prior to that he was CFO. He’s a CA by profession and prior to Gold Fields held down positions at Gencor.