| TORONTO, March 26
TORONTO, March 26 Barrick Gold Corp,
the world's largest gold miner, is seeking a successor to
founder and Chairman Peter Munk, with his co-chairman being
groomed as the prime candidate.
In a letter to shareholders in Barrick's 2012 annual report,
released on Tuesday, Munk said it was time for the company to
"consider a path to new leadership at our board level."
He listed the qualifications Barrick was looking for, and
then singled out John Thornton, who was made co-chairman of the
board in mid-2012.
"It is indeed our great fortune that he has reached a point
in his spectacular career at the same time when our need for
someone of his exceptional qualifications, credentials and
experience also reached a decision point," he said.
Barrick, whose stock is at its lowest point since late 2008,
faces mounting shareholder pressure to improve performance and
provide a better return on investment.
The Toronto-based company last year announced massive cost
overruns and a delay at its Pascua-Lama gold project in the
Andes, and it booked a $3.8 billion writedown in the fourth
quarter related to its 2011 takeover of Equinox Minerals.
In its search for a turnaround, Barrick fired Chief
Executive Aaron Regent last June and replaced him with long-time
Chief Financial Officer Jamie Sokalsky, who has promoted a
regime of disciplined capital allocation and measured growth.
Munk, 85, gave no timeline on when he plans to retire and
the company gave no further details on the succession plan.
Thornton, 59, is director of global leadership at Tsinghua
University in Beijing and a former president of Goldman Sachs.
He joined Barrick's international advisory board in 2011.
Shares of Barrick were down 1.25 percent at C$29.26 on
Tuesday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.