Fortescue leadership cull amid Iron Bridge fallout

The Iron Bridge magnetite project. Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue Metals Group has confirmed that its chief operating officer and two company directors have resigned following a review of the Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia.

Fortescue chief operating Greg Lilleyman, director projects Don Hyma and director Iron Bridge Manie McDonald have left the company.

Fortescue general manager at the Solomon operations Derek Brown has stepped up as acting director projects to fill the leadership gap.

Fortescue stated that a “proven leadership” was “previously unavailable due to the execution of other successful Fortescue projects”.

This comes after a review of the Iron Bridge project, with chief executive Elizabeth Gaines stating that the company had “lost sight” of its critical focus of committing to company values and culture at Iron Bridge.

She and Fortescue chief financial officer Ian Wells would not be taking all incentive payments for the 2021 financial year.

“Since Fortescue was established, our values, above all else, have driven our behaviours and our decisions. These values were allowed to slip inside the Iron Bridge team,” Gaines said.

“We take this opportunity to reset the company’s focus on our culture and values which defines us and makes Fortescue a truly great company.

“I would like to thank Lilleyman for his enormous contribution since he joined Fortescue in January 2017. The success of our integrated marketing and operations strategy is a lasting legacy of (his) strategic focus and commitment to our success.”

The Fortescue board considered Iron Bridge to be an excellent project, but stated that it must have proven leadership and a complete technical optimisation before advancing further.

The company will release an update on the Iron Bridge review with its half-year financial results on February 18.

The Iron Bridge project is a joint venture (JV) between Fortescue, Taiwan-based Formosa Group and China’s Baosteel Resources.

Once operational, the JV will deliver 22 million tonnes per annum of 57 per cent iron magnetite concentrate.

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