Newcrest replaces chief executive

Gold producer also names new chairman after huge write-down and disclosure inquiry

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 4:01am

Newcrest Mining, the worst performer this year of Australia's 50 biggest publicly traded companies, will replace its chief executive and chairman after taking A$6.2 billion (HK$45.4 billion) in write-downs and amid an inquiry into its disclosure practices.

Newcrest said yesterday chief executive Greg Robinson would be replaced by Sandeep Biswas, formerly the chief executive of Rio Tinto's Pacific Aluminium unit, in the second half of next year.

Biswas is to join the country's largest gold producer as chief operating officer from January 1 next year.

"His skills and background will assist Newcrest to deliver the high performance outcomes we expect from our existing operations and progress the strong development opportunities in our asset portfolio," Robinson, who became CEO in July 2011, said.

Newcrest also said Don Mercer would be replaced as chairman in December by Peter Hay, who joined the board in August.

BlackRock, Newcrest's largest shareholder, said last month that senior executives were expected to exit gold producers after companies announced at least US$26 billion of write-downs since June following the metal's steepest quarterly drop in London in more than 90 years.

Newcrest, which booked a full-year loss after writing down the value of its mines and other assets, is also the subject of an inquiry into its disclosure practices.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating a drop in the company's share price before a June 7 announcement when it flagged the write-down.

Credit Suisse, Citigroup and UBS were among banks that cut their ratings on Newcrest in the three days before its statement, raising concern from regulators.