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Australia's Fortescue appoints new CEO, looks beyond iron ore
[SYDNEY] Fortescue Metals Group on Thursday unveiled a broad corporate restructuring that will see women holding the top two executive roles as the company looks beyond iron ore mining for growth.
The world's fourth-largest iron ore producer appointed the company's chief financial officer, Elizabeth Gaines, as its next chiefemi executive. Julie Shuttleworth, a mine manager, will serve as deputy chief executive.
Ms Gaines, who joined Fortescue's board in 2013 and its executive team this year, will replace Nev Power, who announced in September he would step down in February after more than six years.
The executive changes come as founder and chairman Andrew Forrest, who built the company from an explorer into a top global iron ore supplier in just 10 years, eyes new areas for growth.
Mr Forrest has said he is looking to build on gains made by the company in areas including seaborne shipping and land-based logistics by branching out into new businesses that may not necessarily be connected to iron ore.
"I would be incompetent if I was to stick to just one medium," Mr Forrest told Reuters on Thursday.
A drive to pay off billions of dollars in debt accumulated in the early years of the company and sharp reductions in costs would now help in the move into new businesses.
""I'm not able to play the cards before they are dealt... but there are tremendous opportunities that we're looking at," he said.
Mr Forrest, who owns 33 per cent of the company, said the new executives would differentiate themselves from the typical "command and control environment" in mining.
Fortescue this year became the first large Australian company to have a majority-female board, according to the company.
Women in senior roles in mining is not unprecedented, but is rare.
Anglo American of South Africa was headed by geologist Cynthia Carrol between 2007 and 2012.
"We are getting more women who have long enough careers now that we will see more women with the technical and operational management skills considered for these roles," said Sabina Shugg, founder of Women in Mining and Resources Western Australia and national leader for mining performance at KPMG.