Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Caledonia CEO to leave next year

By Freeman Makopa | News Day |

Caledonia Mining Corporation chief executive Steve Curtis will retire at the end of June next year, six months after leading the firm’s listing on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX).

The firm, which controls Blanket Mine, a world-class gold asset in Zimbabwe and has been on an aggressive buying spree, on Tuesday said Curtis would be succeeded by chief financial officer (CFO) Mark Learmonth.

Curtis, who has been CEO since November 2014, will continue to serve as a director of Caledonia, transitioning from an executive to a non-executive role by the end of 2022.

He will also act as a consultant for the company until the end of 2023.

“Under his calm and steady leadership since November 2014, Caledonia’s production has almost doubled and its market capitalisation has increased over four-fold,” the firm said in a statement.

“Steve has also laid the foundations for the next phase of Caledonia’s growth. The central shaft project at Blanket Mine has been the defining feature of Steve’s tenure as Caledonia’s CEO. This project commenced in February 2015 and the shaft was successfully commissioned in March 2021,” the firm added.

The new shaft is expected to result in production increasing to 80 000 ounces of gold per annum from 2022 onwards — almost double the level of production that Blanket Mine achieved in 2014.

The firm said the Central Shaft was expected to result in lower operating costs and capital expenditure, thereby enhancing earnings and cash generation respectively as well as allowing a resumption of deep-level exploration.

“Completion of the Central Shaft and the anticipated increase in cash generation is an excellent foundation for Caledonia’s growth. Under Steve’s stewardship, the strength and depth of Caledonia’s management team has increased so that it has the capacity to take on new projects. In recent years, under Steve’s leadership, Caledonia has also improved its relevance to international capital markets, which has resulted in a substantial increase in Caledonia’s share price since 2014 and a significant increase in the liquidity of its shares which now trade on AIM (Alternative Investments Market), NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) American and the VFEX in Zimbabwe,” the firm said.

Learmonth joined Caledonia in 2008, having spent over 17 years in corporate finance and investment banking, mostly in Africa.

He has been Caledonia’s CFO since November 2014 and is, therefore, experienced in the complexities and opportunities that arise from operating in Zimbabwe,” Caledonia said.

Caledonia said the process of recruiting Steve’s successor was carried out independently by Spencer Stuart, a leading global executive search and leadership consulting firm.

“We were pleased that Mark Learmonth accepted the position as CEO as the board believes him to be the right leader to take the company forward to its next stage of development,” said Caledonia.

Caledonia listed on VFEX three weeks ago.