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May 8, 2019

Barrick CEO envisions 'lean, mean machine' for Toronto HQ

Barrick Gold targets asset sales after shedding corporate staff

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About six months after laying off nearly 95 employees at its headquarters in Toronto, Barrick Gold Corp.’s (ABX.TO) chief executive officer said the company remains focused on shaping a “lean, mean machine at the top.”

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Andrew Bell on Wednesday, Mark Bristow said the gold miner – which once had about 500 staff at its head office, and now has about 70 employees on a single floor – has been focusing on “fitful purpose.”

“We didn’t shed people because they weren’t good. We said we want an appropriate lean, mean machine at the top,” said Bristow, who has previously said the miner’s corporate office will remain in Toronto. 

“The people that are still there have a real job, I promise you. And they make a contribution to our business every day and that’s what we want.”

Bristow added that Barrick is more interested in growing the ranks of its young employees, rather than hiring veteran mining executives such as Goldcorp Inc. Chairman Ian Telfer and former CEO David Garofalo. After Goldcorp acquired Newmont Mining Corp. in an US$10-billion all-share deal earlier this year, both executives did not go along for the ride.

“We’re focused on young, energetic, innovative business people,” Bristow said, in response to whether Barrick would consider hiring Telfer and Garofalo in the future.

“The leadership there – we stand apart relative to the rest of the gold industry. We’ve got young people with relevant experience, not 30 years of the same experience.”