FORMER South African Airways (SAA) chairwoman Cheryl Carolus is to succeed Dr Mamphela Ramphele as chairwoman of gold miner Gold Fields with immediate effect, the company said on Wednesday.
This follows Dr Ramphele’s resignation to further her socioeconomic and political work. She is to reveal her political plans in Johannesburg on Monday, and is widely expected to kick-start a process of establishing a political party ahead of next year’s general elections.
"Dr Ramphele has resigned from most of her private sector directorships and will relinquish all other remaining private sector directorships and positions to focus on these activities," Gold Fields said.
State-owned national carrier SAA was rocked last year by the resignation of most of its board, including Ms Carolus, who cited concern about a lack of support from the airline’s shareholder, the Department of Public Enterprises.
Ms Carolus was appointed as a director of Gold Fields in March 2009. She is also executive chairwoman of black women’s empowerment group Peotona, and a director of Investec and diamond miner De Beers, among others.
Dr Ramphele was appointed to the board of Gold Fields in July 2010 and chaired the board from November that year. She also served on various board committees during her tenure.
She said: "I am pleased that during my tenure at Gold Fields significant progress has been made in entrenching the sustainability of the company’s operations worldwide.
"I also believe that the separate listing and unbundling of the company’s KDC and Beatrix mines into Sibanye Gold will provide the South African operations with the dedicated and focused management as well as full control over their cash flows to extend their life of mine in a sustainable manner to the benefit of investors, employees and communities."
Sibanye Gold failed to set the JSE alight on its debut on Monday, closing near its starting price, but CEO Neal Froneman said there was a lot of upside for the shares as his management team cut costs and focused on paying dividends.
Sibanye houses the mature, deep-level Kloof, Driefontein and Beatrix mines once owned by Gold Fields, which has embarked on a strategy to reduce its exposure to South Africa. In South Africa, Gold Fields retained the new South Deep mine, which is a modern, mechanised operation.
Last week, addressing the Benoni Aurora Rotary Club, Dr Ramphele gave hints of what her political party would be about, when she criticised black economic empowerment as a dummy meant to appease black society.
She also announced plans to launch a "campaign" to change South Africa’s proportional representation electoral system, saying that getting rid of the party lists system should be the "first order of business" after the 2014 elections.
With Allan Seccombe