AngloGold Ashanti announced the appointment of Chief Financial Officer Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan as its new CEO, replacing Mark Cutifani, who assumed leadership at Anglo American.

“We’re extremely pleased to have an executive of Mr. Venkatakrishnan’s caliber to lead AngloGold Ashanti through the next phase of development,” Chairman Tito Mboweni said in a statement. Venkatakrishnan, known often as “Venkat,” stood by Cutifani during across-the-board financial changes at the Johannesburg-based giant. Further activity will emphasize a “value inherent” portfolio, Venkatakrishnan said, with a focus “on returns, margins and free cash flow.”

The leadership change, widely expected, comes less than a week ahead of Q1 2013 results announcements. With 20 operations on four continents, AngloGold Ashanti has a major presence in South Africa, the top gold mining nation in the African continent ahead of Ghana and Mali.