Haggarty quits Whitehaven

PAUL Flynn will step in as managing director and chief executive officer of Whitehaven Coal next month to replace Tony Haggarty who has held the top job since October 2008 and presided over the troubled merger with Nathan Tinkler’s Aston Resources.
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Whitehaven managing director Tony Haggarty.

Lou Caruana

Flynn has been a non-executive director of Whitehaven since the merger with Aston in May 2012, prior to which he was one of Tinkler’s lieutenants as Tinkler Group Holdings MD from April 2011.

Tinkler has openly criticised the performance of Whitehaven management, especially regarding the ramp-up of the Narrabri longwall mine in New South Wales.

Whitehaven chairman Mark Vaile said Haggarty would remain a non-executive director of Whitehaven following his retirement from the MD role.

He will also be available to assist with the management transition, particularly in regard to Whitehaven’s key customer, joint venture and investor relationships.

“As one of Australia’s most successful and respected mining company executives, Tony’s contribution and commitment to the growth and development of Whitehaven and its operations has been outstanding,” Vaile said.

“His reputation both within and outside our business is exemplary and we look forward to his ongoing significant contribution to our business as a director as we continue to deliver our growth plans.

“As advised at the annual general meeting in November, a succession planning process has been underway for some time and has become more focused following the organisational restructure implemented after the merger between Whitehaven and Aston Resources.”

Vaile said an executive recruitment process found that Flynn’s combination of resources industry experience, financial acumen and executive leadership skills formed a highly attractive combination with the company’s recently expanded senior management team.

“The transition in the size and diversity of our business as we move towards our target of producing 25 million tonnes per annum requires strategic planning, disciplined cost control and excellence in leadership skills, all of which Paul is extremely well credentialled to provide,” he said.

“Obviously Paul is extremely well known to the rest of the board and this appointment is one that makes compelling sense on a number of levels.

“Our succession planning process has not been limited to the MD and CEO role.

“As we have been saying since the merger, the board is highly aware of the need to develop its management capabilities in line with its growth trajectory and the associated increase in complexity and size.”

Whitehaven recently appointed Jamie Frankcombe, from Fortescue Metals Group, as operations executive general manager.