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Gold miner Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX - Analyst Report) announced that its founder and chairperson Peter Munk is set to retire at the company’s 2014 annual general meeting (AGM).

Barrick was founded by Munk in 1983, who expanded it from a single-mine company to a global gold industry leader, with operations across five continents. John L. Thornton, Co-Chairman of Barrick, will succeed Munk as the Chairman at the 2014 AGM.

Barrick also announced a number of key business initiatives which include rejuvenation of the Board of Directors, a plan to strengthen executive compensation practices and the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer. The company’s Board has nominated four candidates for election as the new independent directors who will bring a wide range of experience and expertise to Barrick's Board.

Along with Munk, two other directors announced that they will not stand for re-election at the AGM next year. After these changes are in place, Barrick’s Board will have more than two-thirds independent members, with ten independent directors and four non-independent directors.

Barrick also intends to put forward a new executive compensation plan at the 2014 AGM, which will fully align with the principle of pay-for-performance. This will further link compensation with the long-term interests of shareholders. The company also declared the appointment of James Gowans as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective Jan 20, 2014. Gowans has 40 years of international mining and management experience.

Currently, Barrick carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Companies in the gold mining industry with more favorable Zacks Rank are Golden Star Resources, Ltd. (GSS - Snapshot Report), Lake Shore Gold Corp. (LSG - Snapshot Report) and Pretium Resources Inc. (PVG - Snapshot Report). While Golden Star holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Lake Shore and Pretium Resources carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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