Friday, February 22, 2019
Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan

Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan

AngloGold Ashanti

FOR someone who says he did not really aspire to the top job, ‘Venkat’ – as he likes to be known – has made a huge and overwhelmingly positive impression so far in his two years running AngloGold Ashanti. He has been prepared to take the toughest of decisions – including the long overdue call to shut down the troubled Obuasi mine in Ghana – a demonstration that in this market, nothing is sacred when it comes to running his gold company. He has also convincingly indicated he has made the transition from accountant to hard-nosed mining executive with his willingness to call things as he sees it. That kind of bluntness is appreciated by financial journalists and analysts. Much has been made of his failed attempt to split AngloGold Ashanti into its South African and foreign operations in 2014. Certainly, it was an early miscalculation, probably collective, but Venkat has bounced back. And yet .... There’s talk that won’t fade that fundamental restructuring may yet befall AngloGold’s South African mines. We watch and wait. As for Obuasi, Venkat will have to display more characteristic steel. A proposed joint venture with Randgold Resources at Obuasi came to naught after Venkat’s opposite number, Mark Bristow, pulled out of the opportunity


He’s a bean counter by profession – a description he dislikes pointing to his by now vast experience in the real world of running gold mining companies – who held a senior position with Deloitte’s in London before joining the former Ashanti Goldfields in 1999 because he wanted to get his fingers dirty. He ended up as CFO in the merged AngloGold Ashanti and took over as CEO in May 2013.