Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest will step down from his position as chief executive of mining company Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).
He will retire as chief executive of the iron ore company and become the chairman at the next board meeting in August.
The current chief operating officer Nev Power will move into the chief executive role and the current chairman, Herb Elliot will become deputy non-executive chairman and lead independent director.
In a statement, Elliot praised Forrest’s commitment to the company over the past eight years.
“Andrew’s determination, vision and leadership have been the key point of difference for Fortescue, instilling a culture of enthusiasm, delivery, ownership and family within the organisation that have been a primary owner of success,” he said.
‘Shareholders are fortunate Andrew has accepted the Board’s offer to become chairman and remain closely involved with the delivery of Fortescue’s growth plans.”
Forrest said the decision to step back from the day-to-day running of the company did not indicate any lessening of his commitment to the company he founded in 2003.
He said he wants to focus his energy on related issues, particularly in assisting to rid Australia of its indigenous disparity.
Forrest has long been a campaigner for closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The mining billionaire, who grew up in a community with a high Indigenous population initiated a grassroots movement with his wife Nicola, which aims to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians together to end the gap between the two groups – in one generation.
Earlier this year he expressed his sadness when he was accused of misleading an indigenous community in Western Australia about the company’s intentions to mine there in exchange for $10 million per year in funding, infrastructure and training.
Forrest said it is the right time for him to step down and he is confident the new chief executive will help FMG to grow even further.
“Fortescue is now recognised for its ability to deliver on its targets and, with Nev’s extensive experience and knowledge available to lead the company, this is the perfect time for me to move away from my day-to-day, hands-on role,” he said.
Image: WA Today