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Forrests’ separation will not affect Fortescue, pair says

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Billionaire couple Andrew and Nicola Forrest have agreed to separate after 31 years of marriage, but have assured that the development will not impact their mutual business interests.

Andrew Forrest sits on Fortescue Metals board as executive chairman. The Forrests represent Fortescue’s largest shareholder, owning an almost 37 per cent stake in the company primarily through their private investment company Tattarang.

Both Forrests sit on the board of Tattarang, as well as the board of the Minderoo Foundation, a charity the pair founded in 2001.

Reports indicate the Forrests have been dividing their assets in preparation for the separation, with Andrew Forrest transferring half of his Tattarang shares to Nicola Forrest earlier this year. And as recently as last month, roughly $1.1 billion in Fortescue shares was transferred to Coaxial Ventures, a new company wholly owned by Nicola Forrest.

But the Forrests’ have stressed that their friendship remains strong.

“There is no influence on the operations, control or direction of Fortescue, Minderoo or Tattarang,” they said in a statement.

“We will continue our shared mission to create and give our wealth to tackle societal and global challenges, as demonstrated recently by last month’s donation of one-fifth of our Fortescue shareholding to the Minderoo Foundation.”

News of the separation comes in the wake of Fortescue experiencing a number of board changes over the last three years.

Last month, Christine Morris was appointed chief financial officer at the company, almost six months after the resignation of Ian Wells. Wells was the latest in a string of senior resignations at Fortescue – nine executives in two years.

Also last month, Jennifer Morris resigned as non-executive director and chair of the renumeration and people committee. Another non-executive director, Penny Bingham-Hall, assumed her role as chair, while Elizabeth Gaines transitioned into a new role as part-time executive director.

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