Anglo American appoints company stalwart Duncan Wanblad as new chief executive

Duncan Wanblad has been chosen as the new chief executive of Anglo American, replacing Mark Cutifani who is stepping down after nine years at the helm of the FTSE 100 mining group.

The 54-year old South African has spent his whole career at the company and is currently head of strategy. Wanblad will become the first South African to run Anglo since Tony Trahar in 2007.

Anglo was founded in South Africa more than 100 years ago following the discovery of the Witwatersrand gold basin near Johannesburg. About a quarter of its capital is still tied up in the country where it employs 45,000 people mining iron ore, platinum and diamonds.

The company’s chair Stuart Chambers said it would be ‘distinctly advantageous’ to have a South African in charge, although Wanblad – a mining engineer by training – was the ‘standout candidate regardless of his nationality’.

Wanblad joined Anglo in 1990 and moved to London in 2008 to head up the company’s copper business. In this role, he drove the development of the Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, which is due to begin production next year.

He also spearheaded the acquisition of UK-based Sirius Minerals, a deal that will take Anglo back into the fertiliser market, and its exit from thermal coal.

A key challenge facing Wanblad will be to deliver on his predecessor’s road map to make Anglo carbon neutral by 2040, including an ‘ambition’ to reduce its Scope 3 emissions, released when customers use its products, by 50%.

“Climate change and the energy shortage … is going to become more urgent and that in of itself will bring a number of challenges,” Wanblad said.