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Former CEO Loses Millions After Misconduct Scandal

Endeavour Mining cuts ties with Sébastien de Montessus and revokes his remuneration

by Victor Adetimilehin

Endeavour Mining, a London-based gold miner, has announced that it will forfeit $29.1 million in remuneration previously allocated to its former CEO, Sébastien de Montessus, who was fired for alleged “serious misconduct”.

Irregular Payment Instruction

According to a statement by the company, de Montessus issued an irregular payment instruction of $5.9 million about asset disposal undertaken by the company. The board became aware of this during a review of acquisitions and disposals, which is ongoing.

De Montessus was removed from the company’s board of directors with immediate effect earlier this month, following an investigation by the board.

Personal Conduct Allegations 

In October 2023, someone made allegations against de Montessus through the company’s confidential whistleblowing channel, accusing him of misconduct with colleagues.

The company did not disclose the nature of the allegations, but said they were “inconsistent with the company’s values and culture”.

No Additional Salary or Bonus

The company said that de Montessus will not receive any additional salary, pension, or benefits after his termination date and will not receive any annual bonus for the financial years 2023 or 2024.

His unvested share awards over 717,397 shares lapsed in full, resulting in a total value forfeited of $17.6 million. The remuneration committee has the discretion to apply clawbacks to the $10 million one-off award granted in 2021 and the $1.5 million cash portion of the bonus received in 2022.

The company will set off part of the $11.5 million against de Montessus’ remaining vested 2020 long-term incentive plan (LTIP) award and the vested portion of his 2021 LTIP award, which are worth approximately $8.8 million in aggregate

New CEO Appointed

The board has appointed Ian Cockerill, currently deputy chair of the board, as chief executive officer and executive director with immediate effect.

Cockerill has over 40 years of experience in the mining industry and has served as the CEO of Gold Fields and Anglo Coal.

The company said that Cockerill will lead the company’s strategy of creating long-term value for its stakeholders through organic growth, exploration, and disciplined capital allocation.

Endeavour Mining’s Performance

Endeavour Mining is one of the world’s top 10 senior gold producers and the largest in West Africa, with six operating mines across Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

However, the company reported a record net income of $203 million for the first half of 2023, up 142% from the same period in 2022, driven by higher gold prices and increased production.

They also declared an interim dividend of $70 million, or $0.37 per share, representing a payout ratio of 35% of its net income.

The company said it remains on track to achieve its full-year guidance of producing between 995,000 and 1,095,000 ounces of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of between $850 and $900 per ounce.

Despite the challenges posed by the misconduct scandal, the company said it is confident in its prospects and committed to delivering value to its shareholders, employees, and communities.

The company said that it has a strong pipeline of growth projects, including the Sabodala-Massawa project in Senegal, the Fetekro project in Côte d’Ivoire, and the Kalana project in Mali.

Finally, the company announced its focus on enhancing its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and contributing to the sustainable development of its host countries.

Source: Mining Review

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