Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive, Anglo American, globally recognised as an extraordinary leader and trailblazer in industry innovation, was inducted into the Joburg Indaba’s SA Mining Hall of Fame in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 1 October 2019.
The Joburg Indaba SA Mining Hall of Fame was launched in 2016 as a way of recognizing and honouring some of the legendary individuals who have significantly influenced the South African mining industry over many years.
Many believe that Mark Cutifani’s greatest contribution to the global mining industry has been to restore the fortunes of Anglo American, but what he is even better known for, is his vigorous approach to open, honest communication.
Cutifani has given a new, twenty-first century voice to mining. Few, if any, mining executives, have done more to reposition mining in society in such a way that it is relevant, modern and sympathetic.
A seasoned professional with 42 years’ experience in all facets of mining operations, marketing and corporate development activities, Mark Cutifani is currently the Chief Executive of Anglo American (AA) and is leading a major revitalization and restructuring of its global mining business.
Significant business improvements have been delivered ranging from safety and environment, sustainability, operations and innovation, capital discipline and project delivery, exploration through to financial restructuring, and the positioning of the business as a leading major mining company.
He is acknowledged as a major industry innovator with a track record for the delivery of improvements across all facets of business performance and for repositioning mining to make it more relevant in the 21st Century. He says: “Business purpose and meeting society’s needs are not incompatible; companies play an essential role in meeting the needs of society; business should be much more than simply profits.”
In addition to his operations and corporate experience, Cutifani has demonstrated exceptional marketing and commercial acumen in building new models for marketing of commodities and downstream value-added products.
“The sand is shifting beneath our feet and if we cannot make significant contributions to society, our businesses are unsustainable; we need to demonstrate why we should be here for another 100 years by clearly stating what we plan to achieve.”
Having been “born into a working-class family”, Cutifani paid for his mining engineering studies at Australia’s Wollongong University by working at a coal mine. He has his own bootstraps to thank, but he’s also no nonsense. At AngloGold, he did away with reserved parking spaces; he took doors off offices.
But the main reason AngloGold’s board hired him was for his technical ability. He also brought with him Tony O’Neill, a life-long friend and a foil that was transplanted to Anglo American, to great effect.
Cutifani’s reputation has been built on a consistent track record of innovation and achievements:
- In April 2013 he was appointed CE of Anglo American. In 5 years, he has led a substantial transformation of the company:
o Safety – 70% reduction in fatalities and all accident frequency rates
o Environment – 85% reduction in non-planned discharges and emissions
o Social performance – developed full Sustainability Strategy that has been broadly recognised as industry leading
o People – rebuilt organisation and restructured from 162 000 people to 90 000, without incurring major disruption or political discontinuity
o Production – increased by 10%, despite downsizing the number of assets from 68 to 36.
o Rebuilt asset base – average life of mine increased from 23 years to 30 years.
He has won numerous academic and community awards, the more recent including:
- Honorary Chair – World Mining Congress, Montreal (2013).
- Engineers Australia Magazine – listed amongst the Top 100 influential engineers in Australia (2013 and 2014).
- Diggers and Dealers Lifetime Achievement Award (2015).
- Honorary Doctorate – Doctor in Laws – Laurentian University in Canada (2016).
- Vatican Medal – Recognition as a member for the delegation from the Global Foundation to the Vatican in support of Ethical Business in Society (2017).
- TechnoServe 50th Anniversary Honoree – In honor of “extraordinary leadership in creating sustainable business solutions to end poverty around the world.”
- Honored in NYC in October 2018 along with Chairman of Coca Cola.
- Best CEO in Sustainable Mining – European CEO Awards (2018)
But lest anyone forget our leaders are not infallible, he almost sold Kumba Iron Ore.
So, what is his secret? Conversation. Frequently asked in interviews for a response to a challenge, Cutifani says: “We’ll have the conversation”. It’s good psychology: Conversations imply two-way exchanges and – more importantly – an open ear. And in today’s politically aware environment, when mining is met with suspicion, if not hostility, conversations put a best foot forward. ‘Conversations’ have played a defining role in Cutifani’s career.
Cutifani joins 13 esteemed members, who have been acknowledged as some of the most highly regarded individuals in South African mining: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Bobby Godsell; Con Fauconnier; Patrice Motsepe; Mark Bristow; Gwede Mantashe; Brian Gilbertson; Sipho Nkosi; Marius Kloppers; James Motlatsi; Ian Cockerill; May Hermanus and Barry Davison.
The 7th edition of the Joburg Indaba kicks off Wednesday, 02 October 2019 in Johannesburg, where Cutifani will join other speakers and stakeholders from the mining and resources sector discussing critical issues affecting this sector.