Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals has picked travel group Helloworld’s former chief executive Elizabeth Gaines as its new chief financial officer.
Ms Gaines, who has been on Fortescue’s board since 2013, will take up the role on February 6 following an “exhaustive” global search, chief executive Nev Power said in a statement to the ASX on Tuesday.
She will replace Fortescue’s long standing finance head Stephen Pearce, who handed in his resignation in September, with plans to take up a new job overseas.
Mr Pearce had led Fortescue’s efforts to slash its massive debt pile.
Under his watch, the world’s fourth-biggest iron ore exporter cut its gross debt to below $US6 billion by December-end, from the peak of $US13 billion in 2013, using the extra cash flow from a rebound in iron ore prices last year.
The company had borrowed heavily over the last decade to build its mines and related infrastructure in Western Australia.
Fortescue has also trimmed cash production costs for 11 straight quarters, which has helped align its cost structure with larger rivals BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Brazil’s Vale.
On Tuesday, Fortescue said its new CFO will continue as an executive director on its board, but will relinquish other corporate non-executive director positions prior to starting in the position.
Broadcaster Nine Entertainment said in a separate statement that Ms Gaines has tendered her resignation as a director of the company, effective February 3, in order to concentrate on the Fortescue job.