Two weeks after a board shakeup, including the nomination of four new members, two of Barrick Gold Corp.’s independent directors resigned Tuesday, said the world’s No. 1 gold miner in a statement. Robert Franklin and Donald Carty had addressed institutional investor concerns in their capacity; both joined with Barrick’s 2006 Placer Dome acquisition.
The surprising new defections, according to analysts, indicate investors sought further governance improvements even after the revamp. It remains unclear when, or whether, Barrick will choose any replacement directors; a Barrick spokesman declined comment.
Both men, who previously served on Placer Dome’s board, had led the search for the new directors, which culminated in this month’s changes — including the exit of Chairman Peter Munk and two others. Major shareholders had demanded boardroom changes after company co-chair John Thornton received a $11.9 million signing bonus with which he purchased Barrick stock.
The boardroom tumult arrives at a tough time. Like most miners, Barrick has had to reorganize operations while facing a 30% drop in bullion prices. The company recorded nearly $14 billion in write-downs and suspended one of its key gold projects, Pascua Lama, while cutting jobs and reduced dividends.