Gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG) has been one of the top risers in the FTSE 250 this morning after announcing a new interim CEO.

Shares in the company gained 6.3% to 33.5p as it appointed Maksim Meshcheriakov, a relative unknown to investors, as interim chief executive officer, with existing independent non-executive director James Cameron becoming chairman.

Giving investors more of an idea about his background, Petropavlovsk said Meshcheriakov has more than 17 years’ of mining experience and has been involved in various projects in mining, metallurgical and other sectors, including most recently as director general of Traxys’ tin project in Russia.

Meshcheriakov will also be a candidate for the top job permanently after former boss Pavel Mavlovskiy’s return was blocked by 7.5% shareholder Everest.

Founder of the Russia-focused miner Peter Hambro, and temporary CEO Alya Samokhvalova were also ousted in last week’s boardroom battle.

New chairman Cameron said, ‘The immediate priority of the board is to ensure the stability of the management of the business and its assets, and we are delighted with the appointment of Mr Meshcheriakov.

‘Our next step is to provide a robust and transparent governance structure that will command the trust and support of all stakeholders.’

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

Despite today’s announcement of a new CEO, Canaccord Genuity analyst Sam Catalano said the update throws up a lot more questions than answers for investors.

Catalano said there are question marks over the future of the existing executive management team, what it means for Petropavlovsk strategically, whether or not it changes how the miner leverages its POX plant’s excess capacity, and even questions over whether the company remains a listed vehicle.

In the midst of all the boardroom drama, Petropavlovsk has continued to perform well financially and operationally, with big increases in production driven by its POX technology, the development of which was completed at the end of 2018.

Catalano said, ‘While the company is clearly moving swiftly to make changes, in our view these announcements today are likely to do little to answer many investors’ questions.

‘Accordingly, while we continue to believe in the fundamental value opportunity, and the value potential in the underlying Petropavlovsk assets, at this stage it is unclear how Petropavlovsk’s strategy and operations may change.’

READ MORE ABOUT PETROPAVLOVSK HERE

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Issue Date: 17 Aug 2020