Barrick Gold, which has been under pressure from shareholders seeking changes at the board, signalled they are now in the works — including succession plans for Peter Munk as chairman of the gold miner he founded.
Munk, 86, has signalled before he was preparing to step away from board, but in a filing with U.S. securities regulators Friday, as part of a $3-billion share offering, the company was more explicit, suggesting changes would be in place by its next annual meeting.
"The board is addressing the issues that have been raised with our directors, which include modification of the company's executive compensation arrangements, the rejuvenation of the board through a combination of departures from the board, the addition of independent directors and succession in the chairman role at the company, consistent with Mr. Munk's desire to retire as chairman of the board of directors, as previously indicated," Barrick said in the filing.
"The company's intention is to update the market before year end on these initiatives, with governance changes expected to take effect in conjunction with Barrick's next annual meeting."
Barrick has been looking to strengthen its governance practices and add new independent directors to its board since its annual meeting in April when it was criticized for a $11.9-million signing bonus paid to co-chairman John Thornton that was part of a $17-million payment package.
The company currently has seven independent directors on its 13-member board.
Barrick, which has seen its shares fall more than 45 per cent this year, has struggled with problems at its Pascua-Lama project in South America and a falling price for gold this year.
Last week, the gold miner suspended most of the work at Pascua-Lama and announced plans to raise US$3 billion in a massive share offering that will be used to repay debt.