Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Nev Power plans to take a break and help his son on the cattle station when he steps down after seven years at the helm of the mining company.
The 59-year-old, who says he hasn’t had more than three consecutive weeks off since the age of 15, will in February end his term as only the second chief executive to lead the company in its 15 years of operation.
Mr Power, who has been chief executive since July 2011, on Friday said he had been considering leaving for a while but wanted to wait until the completion of Fortescue’s full-year results.
“I sense it is the right time for Fortescue and for myself,” Mr Power told reporters on Friday.
“It has been a very long time that I have been working, it seems, full bore.”
But Mr Power won’t be idle for long.
“I am looking forward to taking some time off and spending some time working on a few personal business interests including helping my son on the cattle station,” he said.
Mr Power said he will continue to work with chairman Andrew Forrest and Fortescue’s board to help manage the transition to a new chief executive.
He said he hopes to continue to be associated with, and to support, the company.
He said Fortescue was in great shape and on an “enormous trajectory” with a “brighter than ever” future.
The world’s forth-biggest iron ore exporter said Mr Power’s decision was consistent with its long-term succession plan to enter a period of growth in other business opportunities.
“Nev has executed his duties to the highest degree and met or exceeded the often unreasonable standards set by his board,” Mr Forrest said on Friday, revealing the company had already begun screening internal and external candidates.
“We could not be more pleased with his stewardship and respect his decision that it is time for the next chapter of Fortescue to begin.”
The news of his departure comes only weeks after Fortescue sharply lifted its dividend and promised to sustain higher payouts for shareholders as a rebound in iron prices and lower costs helped it more than double full-year profit to $US2.09 billion ($A2.64 billion) for the year to June 30.
The board declared a final dividend of 25 cents a share, up from 12 cents last year, resulting in a full-year payout of 45 cents a share – far higher than its target ratio of 30 to 40 per cent of net profit.
Fortescue shares were down 21 cents, or 3.61 per cent, at $5.60, in a lower market at 1357 AEST on Friday.
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