Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert Wilt, CEO of Ma'aden

Lifetime Achievement Award recognises Bob Wilt's outstanding ascent from plant manager to CEO of Ma’aden – the largest mining company in the Middle East

From combat in the Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait in the 90s to leading one of the fastest-growing mining companies in the world, Robert ‘Bob’ G Wilt is one of those outstanding executives with fascinating personalities. He is a veteran with years of experience in the mining industry and an executive leader who has led companies through good times and bad. 

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Arabian Mining Co., Ma'aden, the Middle East's largest mining and metals company. Previously, Bob served as president and CEO of Sofina Foods, a privately held meat and seafood processor with 44 locations in Canada and Europe, from 2020 until January 2022. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor's degree in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Upon completing his MBA from Harvard Business School, Bob enlisted in the US Army. During his service in the 101st Airborne Division, he served as a combat engineer officer and platoon leader. During the Gulf War, he oversaw construction of two base camps while planning and leading combat engineering missions. At the time, Bob had no idea he'd be carving a path to the upper echelons of the mining industry or he'd be leading the largest mining company in the Middle East.

When he left the US Army, Bob worked as a senior consultant for the organising committee for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 1999, Bob began working as a production supervisor at Alcoa, one of the world's top 10 aluminium producers with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

From plant manager, he rose through the ranks to become VP of energy development, VP of operations, and ultimately the company's executive vice president in 2013, responsible for the company's upstream business, including the world's largest mining and refining of bauxite, and the third largest smelting process. In 2017, he became President of Precision Castparts Corporation's Metals Group, managing its aerospace and industrial subsidiaries. 

As a leader, Bob has demonstrated exceptional strategic and operational results in a variety of challenging environments over the course of 30-plus years in various leadership positions. His appointment coincided with Ma'aden's rapid expansion in search of untapped mineral deposits across the Kingdom. 

On the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Summit in Egypt, he spoke at the Saudi Green Initiative about Ma'aden's plan to become the third pillar of the Saudi Arabian economy as the Gulf nation steps up efforts to diversify its revenue sources and progress in line with Vision 2030. 

In addition to commissioning a gold mine and an ammonia plant since joining Ma'aden, Bob secured long-term partnerships with strategic institutions like the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and entered joint ventures with Ivanhoe Electric to accelerate exploration activities by six times. Yet, Ma'aden's largest gold project, which is expected to produce 250,000 ounces per year, is underway.

In the company's 2023 first-quarter report, Bob said “we continued to focus on rolling out our transformation program to make Ma'aden a more agile, responsive business, better equipped to capture growth opportunities and unlock long-term value for shareholders. We have increased production and sales volumes in our core Phosphate Business Unit and delivered another period of strong cash generation.”

According to him, Ma’aden is on track to optimise existing operations and implement new projects.

Ma’aden’s commitment to being a leading company in sustainable mining is Bob’s driving force as he continues to build the company's operations on a solid foundation of profitability and sustainable practices.


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