After a 15-month run, Ned Goodman is stepping down as a board member of Barrick Gold Corp.
"He is starting a new company in the resource space that presents a potential conflict with his role on Barrick's board," company spokesman Andy Lloyd said in an e-mail.
Mr. Goodman, the founder of asset management and brokerage firm Dundee Corp., joined Barrick's board in April, 2014, and was paid $144,000 last year.
Mr. Goodman, now in his late 70s, is one of the best-known figures on Bay Street. He started Dundee in 1993 and helped to build it into one of the most successful brokerages in Canada. In 2014, he stepped down as chief executive officer after being in the role since the firm's inception. He was succeeded by his son, David Goodman. Ned Goodman still serves as a director with Dundee.
Ned Goodman was appointed to the Barrick board "primarily on the encouragement of Peter Munk," said Kerry Smith, an analyst with Haywood Securities. But Mr. Munk is no longer at the helm, so one of his biggest champions is gone.
"With John Thornton now running things, I suppose Ned's maybe finding that it's not exactly what he thought it might be," Mr. Smith said.
Another analyst said Mr. Goodman's resignation relatively soon after being appointed pointed to "possible friction" with Mr. Thornton.
"I can tell you that is absolutely not the case," Mr. Lloyd said about speculation of friction between the two men.
Mr. Goodman is the second independent director to quit Barrick's board this year. In May, David Naylor, a long-term academic, stepped down. At the time, Mr. Naylor said he planned to return to work at the University of Toronto.
Barrick, as many companies in the gold sector, is having a tough year. Gold bullion prices are trading around five-year lows. The company has just under $13-billion in debt and is trying to bring that down by selling off assets.
"There's probably lots of interested buyers [of Barrick's assets], but it's hard for those buyers to get financed," Mr. Smith said.
Selling now also means potentially accepting lowball offers for properties that are worth significantly less than when gold was at its peak.
"When gold was $1,900, that was when you should have been selling assets," Mr. Smith said, pointing out that Barrick was by no means the only company not to sell in a strong market.
Barrick shares, which have lost more than a third of their value this year, are trading at levels not seen since January, 1990.
Mr. Thornton declined a request for an interview with The Globe and Mail. Mr. Goodman did not respond to a request for comment.