Make Kitco Your Homepage

Rob McEwen, Mark Bristow and Keith Neumeyer Lead Pack for CEO of 2018

Kitco News

Editor's Note: Kitco News has officially launched Outlook 2019 - Rush To Safety - the definitive reference for precious metals investors for the new year. We chose this year's theme as financial markets face growing uncertainty. With volatility on the rise, how do you protect yourself? Click here daily to see updated content.

(Kitco News- It was a showdown among titans.

Once again, this year’s vote for Kitco Mining CEO of the year was a close-fought race, but for the third year in a row, Rob McEwen of McEwen Mining (NYSE: MUX TSE: MUX) took the crown.

In what was a frustrating year for mining investors – many of the criticisms that often surface are that while stock performance may be down, it has not stopped executive boards and CEOs from walking out with a huge paycheck.

And year after year, investors take their hats off to McEwen who stands by his $3 annual salary. 

In a November interview with Kitco News, McEwen said his advice to other CEOs was “reduce your pay.”

“In the last seven years, the CEOs of the 15 largest companies in the industry paid themselves just under $700 million,” McEwen said. “Pay yourself less and get your stock performing better and buy shares in your company,” he heeded. 

And when it came time to ask our Kitco viewers the reasons for their nominations, this message was loud and clear:

“McEwen, keeps the company afloat with little to no debt and has skin in the game,” said one voter.

“He has a natural talent for finding good mines and putting them into production for less money than competitors.”

“He takes little salary and acts in the best interest of the shareholders of which he is one.”

“He puts his money where his mouth is, and continues to expand the company through tough times while keeping investors frequently and fully informed of the progress and challenges.

“[McEwen] believes in his company. Puts his money where his mouth is. [He] Does not take compensation. Every other mining CEO is getting rich at the expense of the shareholders.”

Keith Neumeyer

It’s safe to say that 2018 was anything but a lucky year for silver prices. The metal turned out to be the precious metals sector’s biggest disappointment, ending the year down 13%.

But there is optimism for the metal and silver mining stocks as seen in the resounding votes for First Majestic’s (NYSE: AG), Keith Neumeyer.

Here are what some of the voters said about Neumeyer’s role as CEO:

“The silver price put pressure on mining firms, but Neumeyer’s restructuring of the organization and the business ethos is a no brainer.”

“He doubled production of silver with a new acquisition while silver was a deeply troubled commoditiy in 2018, which will pay HUGE dividends to his backers down the road when the silver price recovers; he also oversaw an overall reduction in AIOC, which should continue to improve as redundancies are eliminated in the new mine.”

Mark Bristow

Arguably the mining story of the year for 2018 was the mega-merger between Barrick (NYSE: ABX, TSX: ABX) and Randgold.

Barrick agreed to buy smaller rival Randgold Resources Ltd. in a US$5.4-billion deal announced in September. As part of the agreement, Randgold’s CEO, Mark Bristow, became the chief executive of Barrick, the world’s biggest gold miner.

The news came at pivotal time for the industry – when an influx of energy was desperately needed for the gold sector.

“Mark Bristow is a smart, disciplined, and a focused CEO, who has consistently kept costs down, and shared the results with shareholders by paying dividends,” said one Kitco News voter.

Clive Johnson

As an honorable mention, Clive Johnson was recognized by some Kitco readers for his leadership at B2gold (NYSE: BTG, TSX: BTO), as the company saw its production and cash flow grow through 2018.

Here is what some voters had to say about Johnson’s management:

“Mr. Johnson leads his company with a vision for growth while thinking of the end game- how the communities and country will fare after the mine is gone.  People are treated with respect and employees have the space to make decisions, giving them a sense of ownership of their work and pride to be part of B2Gold.  All of this is because the message from the top, Clive himself, is consistent and purposeful,”

“In 10 years he has grown B2Gold to almost a million ounces and this is after Bema! “

“He developed B2Gold Corp from a mid-tier producer to the newest senior gold producer. “

By Daniela Cambone and Neils Christensen of Kitco News; dcambone@kitco.com and nchristensen@kitco.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.