Guy Debelle, the former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, has resigned from Fortescue, exacerbating a leadership crisis at the mining company, which has seen three prominent departures in one week.
Debelle’s departure from his position as a director of Fortescue’s clean energy division follows the abrupt exit of Fiona Hick, the CEO of Fortescue’s mining business, after just six months in the role.
Additionally, Christine Morris, the chief financial officer appointed under Hick’s leadership in June, has also announced her departure.
Fortescue faces share price drop
Fortescue’s share prices fell by over 4% in response to the recent high-level changes. Debelle has agreed to join the board of aspiring critical minerals miner Tivan, and he will invest $25,000 in the small company.
Fortescue, the world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner, transitioned into a hydrogen and clean energy business in 2020. However, this period of change has been marked by 11 executive departures in rapid succession.
The company reorganized its structure into two divisions: energy and metals, creating tension and competition between the business units as both report to founder and executive chairman Andrew Forrest and the board.
While Forrest has described these high-level changes as necessary for a business in transition, the reasons behind the departures have not been clearly explained, causing concerns among analysts.
Debelle, who spent 25 years at the Reserve Bank before joining Fortescue, had been a significant hire for the company, serving as its chief financial officer before transitioning to his director role.
Fortescue has also appointed former British chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, known for overseeing a disastrous mini-budget that affected the pound, in a part-time advisory role to help develop its clean energy initiatives.