(Adds background on previous layoffs, slump in gold prices)
By Euan Rocha and Nicole Mordant
TORONTO/VANCOUVER Aug 26 Barrick Gold Corp
is eliminating its entire corporate development team
and more cuts are in the works as the world's top gold miner
looks to trim costs, three sources familiar with the situation
said on Tuesday.
The sources, who asked not to be named as they were not
authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Rick McCreary,
the development team's head, is leaving the company this week,
with some others on the team set to depart next month.
The corporate development team's main role was to identify
and evaluate assets worth buying. McCreary, a former investment
banker with CIBC, has led the team within Barrick since
A spokesman for Barrick declined to comment on whether the
company was doing a wider round of cuts, which the sources said
would be announced in the coming weeks. He confirmed, however,
that the corporate development team was being restructured with
some staff moving into other groups.
"The change reflects our focus on achieving operational
excellence across the company, with an emphasis on optimizing
our existing portfolio and further improving efficiency across
our operations," said Andy Lloyd, a spokesman for Barrick Gold.
Some staff from the corporate development team will stay on
as part of a newly minted business development unit, while most
others depart the company.
Barrick along with its smaller peers has been hurt badly in
the last couple of years by the decline in the price of gold.
Barrick, in the last few years, has been largely focused on
cutting costs and selling over $1 billion worth of assets deemed
non-core. Takeovers have not really been on its radar, although
it did abort an attempt to merge with rival Newmont Mining Corp
early this year.
The latest round of cuts comes a little more than a year
after Barrick moved to lay off up to a third of the staff at its
headquarters in Toronto and other offices.
Last month, the miner announced that Chief Executive Officer
Jamie Sokalsky would step down in September and not be replaced.
The move concentrates power in the hands of Executive Chair John
Thornton, who earlier this year took the reins from Barrick
founder and long-time Chairman Peter Munk.
Thornton, a former senior executive at Goldman Sachs,
has already driven many of the company's recent initiatives,
including an ill-fated attempt to merge with rival Newmont
Mining and a joint venture with Saudi Arabian Mining Co
, which is known as Ma'aden.
Barrick named Kelvin Dushnisky, its head of corporate and
government affairs, and Chief Operating Officer Jim Gowans as
co-presidents with overall responsibility for execution of the
company's strategic priorities and operating plans, at the time
of Sokalsky's ouster.
The miner said the co-president approach recognizes the
importance of jointly managing daily mining operations and
relationships with governments, local communities and other
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson, Tom Brown and Lisa Shumaker)