Vedanta Resources, the global diversified natural resources group, has appointed a well-known South African executive, Chris Griffith, as CEO of its Base Metals division and President of its international businesses.
Over the past few years, Griffith has headed Gold Fields, Anglo American Platinum and Kumba Iron Ore. He resigned from Gold Fields in December last year, shortly after Gold Fields’ $6bn bid for Yamana Gold was beaten by a superior offer from Pan American Palladium and Agnicos-Eagle.
His new role will encompass responsibility for Vedanta’s international zinc business in South Africa and Namibia, its iron ore business in Liberia, and its copper portfolio, including Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Zambia, Fujairah, UAE and Sterlite Copper in India.
Griffith’s appointment follows hard on the heels of news that Zambia has agreed to hand control of KCM back to Vedanta. The Zambian government seized the mine in 2019, claiming Vedanta had breached financial and environmental regulations. Zambia Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe acknowledged on 5 September that in the intervening period, the asset had deteriorated and output had fallen.
Griffith holds an engineering degree from the University of Pretoria and spent most of his career in the Anglo American group. He served as CEO of Kumba Iron Ore from 2008 to 2012 and CEO of Anglo American Platinum from 2012 to 2020, where he was responsible for a phenomenal turnaround in performance.
Griffith is the third South African executive to move to Vedanta in recent history. Former AngloGold Ashanti CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan served as Group CEO from 2018 to 2020 and Deshnee Naidoo, former CFO of Anglo American Thermal Coal, served as CEO of Vedanta’s Africa Base Metals in the same period.