Anglo American Boss Cynthia Carroll Quits
Anglo American's chief executive Cynthia Carroll has stepped down after increased pressure from investors over the mining firm's lagging share price.
Ms Carroll quit after more than five years in the job amid concerns about the company's continued dependence on troubled South Africa.
A geologist by training, she became the first non-South African, the first woman and the first outsider to take the top job at Anglo when she became CEO in 2007.
Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman reported last week that Ms Carroll was tipped to leave the firm.
She faced increasing pressure from investors as Anglo's stock price lagged in the mining sector by almost 20%.
Traders reacted positively to Ms Carroll's resignation and shares jumped 2.54% during late London trading.
Ms Carroll's departure leaves only two female CEOs in charge of FTSE 100 companies - Angela Ahrendts at Burberry and Alison Cooper of Imperial Tobacco.
Brushing aside suggestions she was pressured to leave, Ms Carroll and chairman John Parker, her long-standing supporter, said the decision was her own.
Her job was described as a "very gruelling and demanding role".
Her efforts to streamline what was a sprawling conglomerate, to cut billions in costs and to shift Anglo's centre of gravity away from South Africa initially won support.
But her relationship with investors became more troubled after acquisitions like the Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil, an early bid to diversify Anglo's portfolio, became mired in cost overruns and delays.
Anglo has yet to give a final cost estimate for the project but analysts say they could rise to £5bn from current figure of £3.6bn.
"Institutional pressure has been building for some time to replace Cynthia, so the news will be welcomed," one of Anglo's 15 largest shareholders said.
"Ultimately, running Anglo is one of the toughest jobs around and, although Cynthia made a good start as CEO, the feeling is the company has gone backwards in the last two to three years."
Other investors also pointed to a mixed record at the top.
"Her strategic moves didn't always hit the mark. The acquisition of Minas Rio, promptly followed by a dividend cut, was a particular low point," another of Anglo's 15 biggest investors said.
Crippling strikes in platinum and iron ore mines in South Africa over the past weeks have revived long-standing worries over Anglo's exposure to the country.