Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced on Tuesday that Joseph Carrabba has informed the Board of Directors of his plans to retire as the company's president and chief executive officer by Dec. 31, 2013.
James Kirsch, who currently serves on Cliffs' Board as lead director, has been elected non-executive chairman of the Board, effectively immediately, replacing Mr. Carrabba as chairman.
Mr. Carrabba will continue to serve as President and CEO and a Director of the Company until a successor has been elected, after which point he will also step down from the Board. Cliffs' Board has retained an executive search firm, Heidrick & Struggles, to help identify candidates to lead the Company. To facilitate the transition, Cliffs has formed an Office of the Chairman, led by Mr. Kirsch.
The Company also announced Tuesday that Laurie Brlas has retired as Executive Vice President and President, Global Operations, and is leaving the Company, effective immediately.
"It has been a privilege to lead this great Company over the last eight years. I am proud of the global operational footprint we have established and believe now is the right time to begin this leadership transition. I look forward to working with the Office of the Chairman during this period as we continue to provide world-class iron ore and coal products to the world's largest steel markets," said Mr. Carrabba. "We thank Laurie for her service over the past seven years as chief financial officer and most recently as executive vice president and president, global operations. We wish her well in her future endeavors."
"We are fortunate to have a strong executive team in place with a deep bench of leadership talent to aid in a seamless transition. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I want to thank Joe for his dedication to Cliffs over the last eight years. We greatly appreciate his contributions and look forward to his continued leadership during the transition period ahead," Mr. Kirsch added. "I am honored to have the opportunity to work closely with my fellow board members and Cliffs' senior management team as non-executive chairman. We are committed to improving our operating performance and increasing our competitiveness in challenging market conditions as we work to create value for our shareholders."
Cliffs also announced that its Board of Directors has elected Mark E. Gaumond, 62, former Senior Vice Chair--Americas of Ernst & Young, as a new director. The appointment is effective July 8, 2013. With the addition of Mr. Gaumond, Cliffs' Board will be comprised of a total of 10 directors.
"With his strong financial background working with large international companies at both Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, Mark is an excellent addition to Cliffs' Board. Mark has worked extensively with senior management and audit committees of many different public and privately held companies," said James Kirsch, non-Executive Chairman of Cliffs' Board of Directors.
"I am very pleased to join Cliffs' Board and be part of a highly regarded mining company," stated Mark Gaumond. "I look forward to working with management and my fellow board members to enhance shareholder value."
Mr. Gaumond has functioned as the lead partner on many key accounts, and held senior management positions within two large accounting firms over the course of his career. In 1976, Mr. Gaumond joined Arthur Andersen in New York and was named a Partner in 1986. Over his 27 years with Andersen, Mr. Gaumond was a coordinating partner on Fortune 500 clients. He also served as the Managing Partner of Andersen's Stamford office for eight years.
In 2002, Mr. Gaumond joined Ernst & Young's New York office. He was appointed Americas Senior Vice Chair in 2006 where he oversaw all revenue generating activities for the Americas. Previously, Mr. Gaumond worked with several large multinational clients and served as the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young's San Francisco Office. He was a member of Ernst & Young's Americas Executive Board and served on the Ernst & Young Partner Advisory Council. He also was Senior Advisory Partner for several of the firm's largest clients.
Mr. Gaumond received a Master of Business Administration from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University. He received his A.B. in Government from Georgetown University. Currently, he serves as director for Booz Allen Hamilton and Rayonier, Inc. He is a former trustee of the California Academy of Sciences.