Fortescue CEO in shock exit after less than six months on the job

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Top mining executive Fiona Hick has lasted just under six months as CEO of magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s $64 billion Fortescue Metals Group before exiting in a shock announcement made by the company on Monday morning.

Fortescue said it has vaulted current iron ore operations officer Dino Otranto, the company’s chief operating officer for iron ore, into the top job. Hick, who was trumpeted as Fortescue’s future boss in a November announcement last year, made a “joint decision” with Fortescue’s board to leave the company.

Hick took over from Elizabeth Gaines who stepped down from the chief executive role in August last year.Credit: Tertius Pickard

“The departure of Fiona has been both friendly and mutual and we warmly wish her the best for her future,” the company said in statement.

Forrest said he recognised Hick’s contribution to the company. “We thank Fiona for her valuable efforts since joining Fortescue just under six months ago and wish her all the best with her future pursuits.”

Hick, who had proven operational experience in highly complex energy and mining projects at both Woodside and Rio Tinto before being lured to run Fortescue, started in the role in February. Hick took over from Elizabeth Gaines, who stepped down from the chief executive role in August last year.

The latest shock reshuffle follows a two-year period of turmoil where multiple Fortescue executives have left the company, including chief financial officer Ian Wells and former Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle.

Fortescue is undergoing an ambitious transformation from an iron ore miner to a green hydrogen and clean energy company. The company is on an accelerated pathway to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, spending $9.2 billion on renewables and alternative energy sources.

Otranto said he was looking forward to working with the Fortescue team to reach the company’s ambitious emissions targets across its operations. “Climate change is accelerating and we need to act faster than we ever thought to give our children a better future,” he said.

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