With Preece as interim CEO, Mokoatle will head Gold Fields South Africa

13th December 2022

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


Font size: - +

JOHANNESBURG ( – In what is a transformational high point, Benford Mokoatle will run Gold Fields South Africa from January 1 when Martin Preece steps up as interim CEO following the sudden stepdown of Chris Griffith over the Yamana Gold transaction not succeeding.

The Gold Fields South Africa executive VP position goes to Mokoatle for now as Preece – a 37-year industry veteran and a board member of the Minerals Council South Africa – leads the company until a full-time CEO is appointed.

As VP South Deep, a de facto GM position, Mokoatle worked alongside Preece to send the once troubled South Deep gold mine into a new high production orbit.

Mokoatle’s assumption of the EVP Gold Fields South Africa mantle makes for the smoothest of baton changes – a smoothness that would be replicated should Preece – who has shot the lights out in everything he has tackled for Gold Fields so far – be appointed to the top job full time.

Meanwhile, internal and external candidates will be considered as global executive search firms conduct a CEO search.

Preece, who joined Gold Fields as an executive committee member six years ago, has full board support in his interim CEO role. He will work alongside CFO Paul Schmidt, a seasoned Gold Fields campaigner since 2008.

In response to Mining Weekly during a media conference call, Preece expressed ultra-confidence in the team that will be running South Deep, Gold Fields’ only remaining South Africa asset: “There’s been a great team at South Deep for a number of years now,” he said.

Griffith’s step down will be effective from December 31.

In thanking Griffith for the dedication he showed especially during the Yamana transaction, Gold Fields chairperson Yunus Suleman said: “We were all disappointed that the Yamana deal did not go through, as we felt it was a compelling deal which would have created a strong company and created value for all our shareholders.”

In turn, Griffith thanked the board for the opportunity to lead Gold Fields. “The board and I agree that the company’s strategy, including growing the value and quality of the portfolio, continues to be the right one, but we also felt that the Yamana setback should not be allowed to impede the company’s strategy. So, as CEO, I felt that I should take responsibility and allow the company to move forward under new leadership, unencumbered by the Yamana transaction.”

Said Preece: “Our focus remains on implementing our strategy and continuing to deliver operational excellence and sustainable growth. Disciplined capital allocation will remain a key focus for all our strategic decision-making as Gold Fields continues to implement its strategy.”

Gold Fields’ balance sheet remains healthy, providing the Johannesburg- and New York-listed gold mining company with significant flexibility to pursue its strategic objectives.

The turnaround of South Deep has been sustained, with the mine performing well and on track to ramp up to around 380 000 oz over the next two to three years. Gold Fields is also focused on delivering the first gold at Salares Norte in Chile by the end of the second quarter of next year and then building up to full production in 2024.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


The content you are trying to access is only available to subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, you can Login Here.

If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe now, by selecting one of the below options.

For more information or assistance, please contact us at

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?