David Brown, the chairman of Northam Platinum and former Impala Platinum CEO, died suddenly on Sunday of a heart attack. He was 59.
David Brown was an affable and approachable mining executive who always seemed to have a smile on his face. This correspondent last saw him at Northam Platinum's most recent financial results presentation, and he had reason to smile that day as the company had just posted record profits.
Brown's career was a varied one. He was CEO of Impala Platinum (Implats) from 2006 to 2012, overseeing the company during the rise and rise of the platinum price until 2008, when the global financial crisis brought it back down to earth.
Brown steered Implats through that turbulent time and in his final months there had to contend with the explosive emergence of the Amcu union on the platinum belt.
"We were honoured to have benefitted from David's visionary and charismatic leadership," Implats said in a brief statement.
At Northam, Brown had been chairman of a company that was locked in a heated race with his old company for control of Royal Bafokeng Platinum. He had been at Northam for over four years as the company ramped up production,...