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On November 30, the board of directors of Petropavlovsk announced the appointment of a new CEO. It was Denis Alexandrov, who previously headed the British Highland Gold Mining. In a press release, Alexandrov’s company is called a high-class leader with extensive work experience. In compliments to the appointee, Chairman of the Board of Directors James Cameron is also scattered, once again promising « high operational efficiency, greater transparency and full compliance with the best corporate governance practices. ».
This is surprising, because similar promises and excellent recommendations only three and a half months ago accompanied the appointment of the previous top manager of Petropavlovsk Maxim Meshcheryakov. He was called an independent and competent international manager. Despite the fact that the hasty appointment of Meshcheryakov raised doubts from the first day. He could not be considered independent in any way, since he was the founder of the minority shareholder Bonum Capital, which voted in the summer to change the leadership of Petropavlovsk. In addition, he has never worked in gold mining, and previously led several unprofitable companies, incomparable in size to the huge Amur enterprise..
Maxim Meshcheryakov brilliantly confirmed all the fears associated with him. He spent all the past months in endless litigation. Meanwhile, the production forecasts of the enterprise were reduced, 620-720 thousand ounces to 560-600 thousand ounces. The commissioning of the flotation unit at Pioneer had to be postponed from the 4th quarter of 2020 to the 2nd quarter of 2021. The shares of Petropalovsk on the stock exchange almost halved in price, while the shares of other gold mining companies only grew due to the rise in gold prices. The reputation of one of the largest enterprises in the industry was also damaged – Meshcheryakov’s team invested a lot of money in the information war, trying to discredit the previous management and the staff of Petropavlovsk.
At the same time, since the appointment of Meshcheryakov, they have not been seen at any of the mines of the company, although in his interviews he repeatedly promised to meet people and « learn the spirit of the team. ». But, despite this, the board of directors formed by the head of the Chelyabinsk Yuzhuralzolot Konstantin Strukov and his loyal shareholders, continued to support his protégé, stubbornly insisting that « Mr. Meshcheryakov enjoys the full confidence of the board and exercises his powers in accordance with his current position. ».
Even when the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on the fact of an attempt to seize the Moscow office of Pokrovsky Rudnik, Meshcheryakov’s employers tried to shield him, calling for a « broader » interpretation of the article of the Criminal Code « arbitrariness ». So, according to the board of directors, Meshcheryakov with a force support group broke into the office, broke into office doors, threatened employees, stole and destroyed working information on servers, because he worked hard to implement a reliable and transparent control system in Petropavlovsk and its subsidiaries. companies « . However, these strange arguments had no effect on the investigators, criminal cases are underway, and Meshcheryakov will most likely have to answer for such a large-scale « gop-stop » in the traditions of the 90s.
However, the moment has come when the obvious failure of Meshcheryakov at the post can no longer be denied and hidden. As well as the fact that the CEO’s failure is also the failure of the new board of directors who appointed him. Shareholders who were dissatisfied with the state of affairs at a previously successful enterprise began to have more and more questions.. We had to get rid of Meshcheryakov and urgently look for another candidate for the post of head of the company.
However, there should be no illusions on his account, although Denis Alexandrov favorably differs from Meshcheryakov in that he is at least familiar with the industry. The fact that Aleksandrov’s place at the head of Highland Gold was taken by Vladislav Sviblov, another former shareholder of Petropavlovsk, who voted against Maslovsky’s team, raises suspicions that this is a banal castling and a « get-together », and the new CEO will be no more independent and « equidistant » than Meshcheryakov. Moreover, Meshcheryakov was not kicked out of « Petropavlovsk » for good, but left in some unnamed position to help the successor.
Why do we need this leapfrog with a change in the management of the Amur company right now? It is clear that the « blitzkrieg », that is, an attempt to impudently establish control over « Petropavlovsk » in the interests of « Yuzhuralzolot », failed. The battle for the enterprise is far from over, and its outcome cannot be predicted today. The courts continue, the FAS Russia is studying the complaint against the procedure for the purchase of a stake in Petropavlovsk by Yuzhuralzolot, while the mines are trying to force them to adopt statutes that will stop their activities. However, the sudden change of the CEO may indicate the uncertainty of the current board of directors and Konstantin Strukov, who is behind him, in their strengths and prospects..
# The conflict in « Petropavlovsk »
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Petropavlovsk plc, Highland Gold Mining, Gold
EbeneMagazine – RU – The Board of Directors of Petropavlovsk Company dismissed Maxim Meshcheryakov, General Director