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Forrest takes back the top job at Fortescue in shake-up

May 17, 2022

Share Barcelona | Andrew Forrest will directly run his Fortescue Metals Group’s iron ore business for the first time since 2011, as part of a wide-ranging C-suite shake-up that has also installed a new boss at his ever-expanding green-energy business Fortescue Future Industries. Talismanic FFI boss Julie Shuttleworth will step aside into a yet-to-be-defined “very senior executive leadership role”, making way for former GE executive Mark Hutchinson to become FFI’s new CEO with a more explicitly global remit. Mr Forrest will become “executive chairman”, a more hands-on role in which both Fortescue CEOs – FFI’s Mr Hutchinson and FMG’s departing boss Elizabeth Gaines – - will report to him and the board. Team Fortescue: (L to R): Andrew Vesey, Elizabeth Gaines, Mark Hutchinson, Julie Shuttleworth, Andrew Forrest, Guy Debelle, Li Yifei, Jalal Bagherli. Angel Garcia But with Ms Gaines moving into a “brand ambassador” role for Fortescue from August this year, Mr Forrest said he would in effect act as CEO of his mining company until he found a replacement. “I will get my hands more on the tools back at the Fortescue Metals Group to really help it in its march to go green,” he told The Australian Financial Review in Barcelona, where he is at a Green Hydrogen Assembly with dozens of his senior managers and staff. Advertisement Mr Forrest made a string of other board and executive appointments, as he positions the company for his dauntingly ambitious 2030 deadline for FMG to decarbonise and FFI to build a full supply chain for green hydrogen . Step back from advocacy work He said he would step back from some of his lobbying, advocacy and philanthropic work, to ensure FMG’s transition into a net-zero mining company. “Just to take you to a reality which I feel deeply personal responsible for: what if, with all this energy, effort, ingenuity, determination and discipline, Fortescue failed to go green? There wouldn’t be that much hope for the world to go green,” he said. “I’m going to make sure of it [FMG’s transition]. I do intend ... to select a brilliant chief executive for Fortescue Metals Group. But at Fortescue, that’s our Plan A. Our bulletproof Plan B is making sure that we don’t leave anything to chance; and to ensure that, I’ve agreed to step in as executive chair.” Some investors have suggested that Mr Forrest may eventually need to spin off the more speculative FFI from the established mining operation at FMG, but he said that was not the motivation for this dual-CEO restructure. Advertisement He said the two companies were working in tandem, and had the “same shareholders, same chairman, same directors, same culture, same ambitions”. Mr Forrest said that he had seen some outstanding candidates to replace Ms Gaines but was “in no hurry” to name a replacement; and he was also “not rushing into a decision” on Ms Shuttleworth’s next role. He was effusive in his praise for Ms Shuttleworth, and both he and she were at pains to say she was not leaving the group. “One of the characteristics which lands people into major positions in Fortescue is the response to the question ‘where most would you like to work in FFI and FMG?’ And I think the very best answer to that question is, ‘where I’m needed most’,” he said. “Julie epitomises that. Julie has been offered huge roles inside this organisation, and has said, ‘let’s just wait till we all work out where I’m needed most’.” Ms Shuttleworth said that taking another executive job at FFI would not be a demotion, because new FFI boss Mr Hutchinson’s job was global - taking the position to a higher level than her more Australia-focused CEO role. Advertisement Sitting on boards ‘too slow’ Mr Hutchinson’s appointment as FFI CEO underscores Mr Forrest’s desire to take both his political mission and his technologies to a wide range of international markets. Andrew Forrest is in Barcelona with dozens of his staff. Angel Garcia Mr Forrest has been crisscrossing the globe , signing memorandums of understanding with companies and governments for hydrogen supply and technical exchange. Mr Hutchinson, a Brit who got his BA in Queensland before an expat career in eight countries, will be based in Perth. But he admits that when it comes to global companies, “you run them from aeroplanes”. He came out of semi-retirement to take the job, enticed by Mr Forrest’s purpose and pace. Advertisement “I’ve been on a couple of boards for the last couple of years actually. And it’s slow, it’s just too slow,” he said. “I was sitting with my grandkids at the time [of considering the job offer]. And it was like, do I sit back and wait for them to do it, or do I get up and do it myself? And this is the best platform in the world.” Ex-AGL boss joins the ranks Mr Forrest also announced that he had appointed former AGL Energy CEO Andrew Vesey, who is based in the US, as FFI’s head of energy transition projects. Mr Vesey was a strong advocate of AGL’s green transition during his 2015-18 tenure, which put him at odds with the then federal government led by Malcolm Turnbull. The two men are now in the same tent: Mr Turnbull is chairman of FFI Australia. Mr Forrest also appointed BlackRock China director Li Yifei to the board, after a long executive career in the Chinese market. “I think our technology is the best in the world. So we’re not we’re not procuring technologies from China. But we’re very happy to work with them,” Mr Forrest said. “They remain a really important part of the world as they grow to become the world’s largest economy. And the world simply won’t go green unless China does.” Hans van Leeuwen covers British and European politics, economics and business from London. He has worked as a reporter, editor and policy adviser in Sydney, Canberra, Hanoi and London. Connect with Hans on Twitter . Email Hans at hans.vanleeuwen@afr.com Save

Mark Hutchinson Investments

1 Investments

Mark Hutchinson has made 1 investments. Their latest investment was in Hometree as part of their Series A on September 9, 2018.

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Mark Hutchinson Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

9/26/2018

Series A

Hometree

$8.5M

Yes

1

Date

9/26/2018

Round

Series A

Company

Hometree

Amount

$8.5M

New?

Yes

Co-Investors

Sources

1

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