Ten years ago, Andrew Pollard recruited his first CEO of a publicly traded mining company. He was 20 years old and bought himself a Porsche to celebrate, despite living with his parents at the time. In the decade since, he has built Mining Recruitment Group (MRG) to be the industry leader in executive search for the mining industry.
Today Andrew’s talking about the ebbs and flows of his MRG business. He tells me President and CEO searches are not where he’s making his money these days, it’s the operational roles. According to Pollard, a marginal, small gold mine may need $300,000 USD annually to recruit a solid general manager, while the president of the same operation may only be earning half that.
“Running a profitable gold mine is a lot easier at $1900 an ounce than $1200,” Pollard says. “Managers with a track record of cutting costs and raising output really are the white buffalos of the mining sector today.”
The irony is these managers are brought in to cut costs, but the companies have to pay a small fortune to get them on board, and may need the services of someone like Pollard to lead an international search.
Pollard is not only talking up mining general managers, he thinks the market for all mining executives is about to get extremely tight. According to a Fall 2014 MRG survey, 39% of mining executives plan to retire from full-time employment within the next four years.
“The mining industry is currently dealing with four years of declining commodity prices, share prices, financing activity, exploration activity, etc,” remarked Pollard. He continued, “as soon as the industry works its way past those challenges, it will be staring down the barrel of a demographic shotgun.”
Pollard is optimistic for a steady wave of mergers and acquisitions in the mining business, not only to replenish its reserves but talent as well.
“Talent-driven acquisitions in mining will be as common as they are in technology.”
Miners looking to discuss talent with Mr. Pollard, mention this article in April 2015 to receive 10% off an executive or board search.
Here’s a quick video with Andrew taped at Cambridge House in January.