Why Newcrest Mining Limited is a new company in 2014

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) investors will be aware of the significant operational changes that the company has undertaken to slash costs and streamline mining operations since last year’s gold price fall.

These are changes that have been well covered by the media and have helped to drastically strengthen operating margins to the point where Newcrest has strong production and higher free cashflows in the second half of the financial year.

However, less attention has been given to the wave of high level management changes undertaken which will give the company a fresh outlook going forward.

The biggest news was the October announcement that Chairman Don Mercer would be retiring in December and that Managing Director and CEO Greg Robinson would be succeeded by Sandeep Biswas. The announcement followed a disastrous full-year result in 2013 which included the announcement of over $5 billion in writedowns.

The new heads have moved quickly to get a support team established and last week announced some major changes to the existing management structure.

New executive general managers were revealed for international operations and Australian operations & projects. Newcrest also announced the appointment of a new general counsel & company secretary, Francesca Lee, who came from OZ Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) and has previously worked with BHP Billion Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO).

The new executive team has come partially in preparation for incoming CEO Sandeep Biswas who will want to establish his own structure to best leverage his experience and expertise, as well as create efficiencies throughout the company.

Newcrest is going to need this expertise and efficiency going forward if it is to navigate the challenging operating environment of lower gold prices and win back investor confidence.

Foolish takeaway

The refreshed corporate structure will effectively transform Newcrest into a new company in 2014. The new management team still have plenty of challenges ahead of it, but for investors the hope is they will have the skills to transform Newcrest back to being the ‘miner of choice’.

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Motley Fool contributor Regan Pearson does not own shares in any company mentioned.

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