Change at the top for BC Iron
The next challenge ... Mike Young, pictured, felt it was time to move on.
Australia’s best performing iron ore junior has undergone a change of leadership, with BC Iron managing director Mike Young making way for his Finance Director Morgan Ball.
The market appears to be comfortable with Mr Ball as the replacement, with BC Iron shares 1 cent higher at $3.68.
Mr Young stepped down today after more than six years at the helm of the company, which came to prominence for striking a joint venture deal with its neighbour Fortescue Metals Group in August 2009.
Mr Young was BC Iron's first employee, but he said today the time was right for him to move to a non-executive director's role at the company.
Mr Ball's background is in accountancy, and Mr Young said he had increasingly been helping to run the company in recent years.
''We've been working together for the past three and a half years and over the past year I've become convinced that if I stepped away he could certainly run the place, so it's great because the culture will stay the same, it's a completely seamless transition,'' he said.
Initially criticised for giving away 50 per cent of its Nullagine iron ore project in return for using Fortescue's rail and port facilities, BC Iron's joint venture deal proved to be a masterstroke as it allowed BC Iron to cash in on the period of high iron ore prices.
Many other iron ore juniors in the Pilbara are still stuck without a transport solution and are dealing with a lower price environment, while BC Iron has expanded its position and even paid a maiden dividend last September.
After first trading on the ASX for 24 cents in 2006, BC Iron shares have only drifted below that mark for a total of about six weeks, and in recent weeks hit their all time high of $4.09.
Mr Young said it was pleasing to have a leadership transition at a time when the company was thriving, and to have a replacement who was already well known to investors.
''The company has transitioned from an explorer and developer into a producing, dividend-paying company, and I've noticed that when we are on the road together. 90 per cent of the questions from investors have been for Morgan,'' he said.
Mr Young - who is a keen road cyclist and mountain biker - said his resignation was not a full retirement, and he intends to continue working in the mining industry after having some time off.
''I'm going to spend some time on my bicycle and with my family, but not in that order,'' he said.
Mr Ball said he was excited to take over the company at a time when it had recently increased its stake in the joint venture with Fortescue.
''My focus will be on maintaining a robust shareholder return, operational performance and productivity, fostering the company's excellent relationships and overseeing its continued growth in a measured manner,'' he said.