Typically when a chief executive officer is ousted, his or her former company releases a brief, coy statement.
Not so with Kinross.
In its press release late Wednesday, the gold miner made it very clear why former CEO Tye Burt has been fired.
After noting Mr. Burt’s achievements, the release stated “the board has determined that in view of current market and industry fundamentals, stakeholder interests will best be served by an executive management team focusing on the implementation and oversight of the comprehensive capital and project optimization process that was announced by the Company on January 16, 2012,” adding that “the Board has also determined that a change in CEO is required to guide Kinross through this capital and project optimization process.”
That may seem pretty watered down, but it’s pretty much as forthcoming as it gets. Kinross is saying, unequivocally, that Mr. Burt just wasn’t up to snuff.
Now compare this disclosure to Barrick Gold Corp.’s, which ousted its former CEO Aaron Regent in June. In the miner’s press release, there wasn’t a single indication as to why Mr. Regent had parted ways with the company, and in the months since, the company has pretty much been a closed box.
Looking back, you have to wonder if Mr. Burt really regrets going after Red Back Mining, a deal that had his name stamped all over it. If you recall, proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services initially recommended that Kinross shareholders block the deal, but Mr. Burt was adamant that the dissenting firm just couldn’t see what he saw. There was a lack of new gold supply worldwide, he said at the time, and high gold prices were going to make everything a-okay.
Except he never mentioned what would happen if there were serious delays, which have plagued the Tasiast project.