Empowerment drives Fortescue’s rise says Power

03 November, 2017

Set the hard targets, empower your people to be innovative and they’ll achieve amazing results – that’s the advice from one of Australia’s most successful CEOs.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd CEO Nev Power, who will step down in February after leading the company for seven years, says a company can do amazing things if the people are passionate about what they do and are given the flexibility to achieve.

He’s walked the talk. Since his appointment in 2011, Fortescue has quadrupled its production of iron ore to more than 170 million tonnes per annum and become one of the world’s largest but low cost producers.

The company was founded in 2003 by Chairman Andrew Forrest and now supplies 17 per cent of China’s seaborne iron ore.

Power will share his thoughts on leadership at the CCI Lighthouse Leadership series on November 16.

“The thing I’m most proud of is every part of Fortescue has performed to an outstanding level and been able to achieve great results,” he told The Guide.

“Every single part of Fortescue and every single person in Fortescue has contributed to the outcomes. Every single metric has improved dramatically and if it is not world leading it is close to it.

“So our safety performance, production efficiency, the strength of our balance sheet, our engagement with communities, our environmental performance, our Aboriginal employment, our Aboriginal business contracting, our diversity. If you look across the whole range we haven’t succeeded in a few areas at the expense of others, we’ve done it right across the board.”

Power says the decision to resign as CEO and depart the company in February has not been easy.

“It has been a difficult decision for me, however, it is the right time for Fortescue to transition to a new leader and it’s the right time for me as well,” he says.

“It will be seven years by the time I leave and I think the leader for that next phase needs to be committed to that right through. I saw this as perfect timing and obviously in discussion with Andrew we decided this was a good time for me to transition leadership of the company.”

Power says he’s looking forward to taking a break and seeing what opportunities are out there for him but doesn’t have his mind set on anything.

“I have been working flat out for my entire career and I am looking forward to taking a bit of break and thinking about what I want to do next,” he says.

“I am so incredibly proud of what Fortescue has achieved and that is through every single part of the business and every single person in the business really pinning their ears back and achieving the goals so that has been the best part of all.” 

Don’t miss your chance to hear from Fortescue Metals Group Ltd CEO Nev Power at CCI’s Lighthouse Leadership Series on 16 November — book your tickets here today.