Nobody symbolizes the changing face of world mining more than Cynthia Carroll. As chief executive of Anglo American, she is leading one of the 100 largest companies in London's FTSE index at one of the most exciting times in the history of our industry.
Cynthia, 51, is the first woman and also the first non-South African (she is American) to lead the company founded by my grandfather Sir Ernest Oppenheimer in 1917. But she has mining in her blood. She cut her teeth in oil and gas 30 years ago as a petroleum geologist armed with an M.B.A. from Harvard. That hands-on experience is what this business is all about.
In the consolidation froth that has swept the industry in recent months, Cynthia has been clear that she does not necessarily want Anglo to be the biggestbut she certainly wants it to be the best, whether in profitability, operating efficiencies or its record on safety and sustainability.
As an African myself, I am particularly pleased that she is not inclined to accept the prevalent tide of Afro-pessimism. She sees Africa with fresh eyes as a continent of opportunity, where Anglo, with its history, is well placed to develop new mining projects. She thinks in the long term, developing business that will thrive well beyond the life of any particular mine. This is how mining companies should be.
Oppenheimer is chairman of the De Beers Group
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