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Faulty equipment 2 weeks ago. Now a fatality. I think we need a new management team. Employee Safety should be a priority and will pay off in the long run. This is bad business.
I agree. What a tragedy for Mr. Dale Madson and his family and friends, as well as for SWC. It may just be coincidental to SWC's other problems this year, but who would want to work for SWC at this point? Did management take their eye off the North American PGM operations ball, while lusting after a ridiculous long-term South American copper project, that SWC shareholders clearly did not and do not want (the market has spoken loudly on that, IMO)?
If the SWC directors have even a shred of independence from Frank McAllister, and wish to uphold their implied committment to the SWC shareholders and employees, they'll fire McAllister immediately, IMO. Or at least fire him as soon as possible after Mr. Madson's funeral. McAllister has been a disaster for the shareholders, and now it appears (whether this is a fair assessment or not) that safety at the Montana mine has not been what we'd have expected. I don't know for sure that the smoking equipment last week and yesterday's fatality could have been avoided if management had remained focused entirely on the North American PGM business, but there certainly have to be doubts about that now.
In my opinion, the situation at SWC has gotten entirely out of hand (both the Peregrine fiasco and the mine safety concerns), and it's high time for the SWC board of directors to act responsibly for the SWC shareholders and employees. Mr. Madson and his family, co-workers, and friends have my deepest sympathy; I realize that accidents happen, but reading about Mr. Madson in the link below made me sad and angry, thinking that possibly this could have been avoided:
That above-linked story notes that there was a fatal injury at the Stillwater mine in 2005. What did management do with regard to safety, after that death, which the above article states that "was cited for unsafe work procedures and inadequate safety controls."? And what had SWC done about safety prior to 2005 (for those who might not know, McAllister became CEO/Chairman of SWC in early 2001)? Last week on the conference call, when talking about the Marathon project, McAllister spoke as if SWC goes beyond the requirements of the regulators, to do things that right way and engender goodwill in the community, indicating that this is how SWC operates. All that seems like BS now, given what has been happening with SWC recently.
With what has happened this year, I don't see how SWC shareholders and employees can take avoid wondering if McAllister's words don't mean much - and that's bad for any company. Where the heck is the board of directors? Again, Mr. Madson's death was a terrible tragedy, and I'd like to think it had nothing to do with SWC management, that's at least the assumption we'll have to make at this point. However, it did happen, there were also TWO separate issues of smoke just last week, there was the worker death in 2005, and of course there's the Peregrine purchase - which clearly tanked the SWC share price, a huge undertaking and major change of business direction, on which SWC shareholders were not even allowed to vote. All of this has happened over just the past 4 months. What's next?
Gee Alex, why should Frank and his rubber stamp BOD give a rats rearend about the premier North American PGM production story everyone invested in...when there's possibly some copper in some massively overpriced 'pie in the sky' dirt that no sane producers wanted, down in a South American country who is making nationalization 'big tax on miners' noises, eh?
I mean after all, how is Frank going to get a nice big new office, fat BOD granted bonuses, and a corporate jet for winging around Internationally and all that, if he can't decimate SWC as his personal EGO Piggy Bank, right?
Self aggrandizement at shareholder expense. Watch all the scammers on "American Greed" and tell me they don't have a thing or two in common...
SWC would have hit 30 last Friday if not for Frank. Glad I bailed in the mid 20's and got back in single digits, BUT...this is now going to be a looooong.....slooooow.....grind and I allocated most of my former SWC profits to other PGM plays. Notably, PAL, PALL, and PPLT.
<<major change of business direction, on which SWC shareholders were not even allowed to vote. >>
That's the new 'EU rules' for corporate management; the common folk/ shareholders seldom know enough about the complexities of modern society and business to make informed decisions so allowing a vote is not in the best interests of a country or a company.
CEO's need latitude to exercise judgement and create shareholder wealth and it appears some of the more progressive BOD's like to extend a type of tenure to the 'right' CEOs and put less emphasis on results until the strategies have had a chance to bear fruit.
Tenure for the board itself could well be next as it takes a while to educate oneself WRT to each CEO's strategy in the context of a company's specific operating environment and besides, elections cost money and are an unnecessary distraction from the duties of the board.
So for all those of you who like to exercise your vote, fogeddaboudit, you just don't count anymore and these new innovative ways of doing business will pay off big, just you wait.
Just look at the Big Financial firms on WS and see how much wealth and innovation they've created over the years.
Think they could possibly have done that if the chair in the CEO's office had a new bum in the seat every other year and he had to produce measurable results every year?
Gotta learn to capitalize on capitalism.
Exmuckerman, I'm glad that you feel safety has been improved at SWC over what it "used to be". Maybe these three separate safety issues in less than a week, are merely a coincidence. It can't help but raise red flags however, for workers, safety officials, and shareholders (and potential shareholders) IMO. I agree that this is very sad for everyone at SWC (workers and management alike, at all levels) and the community.