Pollard, who runs an executive search firm focused on the mining industry, has a unique view of the space and where it’s at today.
Mining industry experts often emphasize that the best-performing companies are led by executives who have been serially successful — people like Robert Friedland and Lukas Lundin, who consistently deliver on their promises.
But how do the right people find the right company? Sometimes it’s easy; when it’s not, Andrew Pollard is there to help. He’s president of The Mining Recruitment Group, an executive search firm focused on the mining space, and his goal is to put together top-notch management teams for companies looking to take their work to the next level.
“Good projects in the wrong hands will never see the light of day or see their value realized,” he told the Investing News Network at the recent International Metal Writers Conference. “But if you can support a good team and find someone that’s done it before, you’re going to stack the odds in your favor.”
He noted that while every position has different requirements, overall when he’s hunting for mining execs he’s looking for people “with energy, with passion — someone who’s got scruples.”
Pollard, who chaired a panel at the show featuring several successful young CEOs, also believes in considering younger people for management-level roles at mining companies. “What I’m trying to show is that passion, drive, outside-the-box thinking, creativity and maybe just a bit of youthful optimism isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” he said.
Watch the video above for more of Pollard’s thoughts on the mining space. The transcript for this video can be viewed below.
INN: Can you start off by telling us a little about your company and what you do there?
AP: The Mining Recruitment Group is an executive search firm focused purely on the mining industry. What I do is I put together management teams for mining companies. I get the call if a CEO is going to get fired, I get the call if a CEO wants to step down. And I find hard-to-fill technical positions, like VP exploration, COO, general manager, those sorts of things.
INN: I imagine doing that job you have a pretty good finger on the pulse for what’s going on in the resource space. What are you seeing right now?
AP: My position affords me a good lens into the state of the industry. What I’m seeing right now is that it’s come back — almost as if the lights got turned on all at once. I noticed a change around maybe January of 2016, once a lot of progressive companies were looking to maybe start making some changes, and get the benefit of pulling talent from a big pool. But since then everyone’s just sort of jumping in, and you’re seeing it across the board from investor relations, geology. Certainly projects are getting financed now, and succession is the name of the game. There’s going to be a lot of movement among the boardrooms here, and certainly among executives.
INN: What are some of the different challenges you’ve faced during bear markets and bull markets? When is it easier for you?
AP: It’s a lot easier when companies are hiring. As you can imagine, in bear markets I don’t really chase clients. When there’s layoffs happening, I still get calls and I’ve been fortunate to work with some good companies, and I always stay relatively busy. But obviously when the market comes back all at once, my value add become much more apparent.
INN: We’re here today at the International Metal Writer’s Conference, and you did a panel yesterday featuring some young leaders. Why is it important to have younger people getting into the mining industry?
AP: [What was] really cool about the panel is [that] every single one of them was under 35 years old. And every single one of them [is an] absolute powerhouse already. None would be conventionally technical, but they went into the boardroom at a young age and managed to get things done.
Steve de Jong from Integra Gold (TSXV:ICG), he took over in his early 30s, and then took it from $20 million to a $600-million take up by Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD,NYSE:EGO). Dan O’Flaherty just created Maverix Metals (TSXV:MMX), which launched last year, and [its market cap is] now over $180 million. And Jordan Trimble, CEO of Skyharbour Resources (TSXV:SYH), has just been a powerhouse at raising money, telling the story — he’s got a discovery to his name, and he’s like 30. What I’m trying to show is that passion, drive, outside-the-box thinking, creativity and maybe just a bit of youthful optimism isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
INN: Investors are often told that management is the most important thing to look at when trying to find a company to invest in. I’m sure you probably agree.
AP: My entire business is predicated on [the idea that] management matters. Too much of the narrative of these things focuses on projects, but really good projects in the wrong hands will never see the light of day or see their value realized. But if you can support a good team and find someone that’s done it before, you’re going to stack the odds in your favor.
INN: When you’re hunting for people to go to new companies, what are the qualities you’re looking for?
AP: Every single search … they’re all different, which I say is sort of what makes them all the same. Every board of directors is different, the needs of each company are different, stage of development, all of that. So really there’s no one size fits all. But, you know, you want someone with energy, with passion, and someone that’s got scruples, because in the industry there’s a lot of people with skeletons in the closet. And you know, success generally breeds success. So just find them early on and follow their careers.
INN: Can you talk about a time when finding the right person or group of people really made a difference for a company?
AP: There have been plenty. I’ve been fortunate enough to be with a lot of companies as they transition, and certainly during the downturn most of my business came from advanced explorers looking to go from exploration to become true mine builders. Just this year I did a CEO search for a company called Treasury Metals (TSX:TML), which is building a gold deposit in Ontario, and they needed someone with mine-building experience. We brought that on, and their stock is probably up 20, 30 percent since then; they’re on the path to becoming a true mine developer.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.
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