Nick Holland to retire from Gold Fields
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JOHANNESBURG - GOLD Fields surged 5.07 percent to close R144.43 a share yesterday after the group announced that its long serving chief executive, Nick Holland, was retiring at the end of March marking an end of an era.
Gold Fields named veteran mining executive, Chris Griffith, former Anglo American Platinum and who previously headed Kumba Iron Ore, as Holland’s successor saying that the appointment was with effect from April. The company said Holland, who was at the helm for 13 years, had agreed to retire six months earlier than required to facilitate the leadership transition.
Chairperson Cheryl Carolus said under Holland’s leadership Gold Fields had transformed the company into one of the better performers in the gold industry.
“Nick has defined Gold Fields as it is today: a global, highly profitable and sustainable company, which is widely considered a leader in its field,” said Carolus, adding that Holland had improved the group’s environmental sustainability and governance focus.
Speaking to analysts and journalists during a conference call, Holland said highlights of his career included changing the profile of Gold Fields and improving the group’s safety record.
“When Gold Fields was formed in 1997, we had no production outside of South Africa. It was exclusively South African, today being in the top five or six in terms of production globally and changing the profile of the company is one of the things we can look back at and it will help Chris take the company forward. I think one the of the things that gives us sleepless nights as executives is safety and I am proud we have improved on safety,” said Holland.
Commenting on his appointment also during the conference call, Griffith said that his focus would be to create value for stakeholders. “My focus will continue to be on value and it has been in previous companies that I have run, and I will continue to focus on the value that I can create for all stakeholders with a big focus on driving financial and operational value,” said Griffith.
Holland joined Gold Fields as chief financial officer at the formation of the company in 1998 and as chief executive ten years later.
Holland leaves the company in a strong position with a healthy balance sheet thanks to the gold price reaching record peaks in 2020 after investors scrambled for safe haven assets amid the Covid-19 global economic fallout.
In its latest financial report released last August, Gold Fields announced that it had generated R5.5 billion in net cash flow during the six months compared with a net cash outflow
of R1.3bn a year earlier. Holland was instrumental in shifting the company’s strategy to focusing on profitable assets outside South Africa and the spinning off of the group’s ageing South African assets. Kloof, Driefontein and Beatrix were spun off into Sibanye-Stillwater, which was established in March 2013.
The group had tried to find solutions to make its remaining South Deep mine in Carletonville work and it
was on the road to recovery after gold production increased by 63 percent to 64 900 ounces in the September quarter from 39 800 ounces in the June quarter due to an increase in volume mined.