Johannesburg, South Africa — 27 November 2012 – Phuthuma Nhleko, the CEO who built major communications company MTN into an emerging-markets empire, is one of the front-runners to take over the reins at global mining giant Anglo American.
Quoting BDlive, Miningmx reports that the Anglo board is said to be considering Nhleko, who has served as an Anglo director since April last year, as a replacement for Cynthia Carroll, who announced last month that she would resign after nearly six years as CEO. In the last Anglo annual report, chairman John Parker praised Mr Nhleko’s “excellent international business track record”.
Anglo said Carroll would remain in her post until a successor was appointed and an appropriate transition had taken place.
A decision to appoint Nhleko would be “received disappointingly by the market”, according to a London-based mining analyst, who said Anglo needed a boss with a strong mining background.
A civil engineer by training, Nhleko holds an MBA in finance from Atlanta University and worked for Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank in the 1990s before joining MTN. His corporate finance background played a key role in the successes of MTN.
“Appointing Nhleko as CEO will come out of the blue for international investors. The reason Anglo is in the mess it’s in is because they haven’t had a strong mining person at the helm since Tony Trahar (Carroll’s predecessor) took over in 2000,” the analyst said.
Anglo has underperformed relative to its peers and has faced delays and cost overruns at key projects, notably its Minas Rio iron ore development in Brazil.
An analyst, who has covered MTN extensively for many years, said Nhleko would be a brilliant appointment for Anglo.“If they want someone strategic who can take the business to the next level, they will have to search far and wide to find someone more suitable than Phuthuma,” he added.
According to the analyst, Mr Nhleko’s lack of operational mining experience should not be seen as a problem.
In a short statement issued on Sunday, Mr Nhleko said speculation about his appointment to Anglo American was “unfounded”, adding: “The Anglo American board, of which I am a member, has not engaged with me in any such discussions.”
Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.