Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) announced Feb. 27 that Chairman and CEO Steven Leer will retire as CEO effective April 26, the date of the company’s annual shareholders meeting, and will be succeeded as CEO by John Eaves.
Eaves is currently the company’s president and COO, and a member of its board of directors. Leer will remain with the company as Chairman of the board of directors.
“The board, John and I have been planning for this transition since John was elected to the board in 2006, and I am confident that he is the ideal person to lead Arch forward at this time of tremendous growth and change in global energy markets,” Leer said. “John is an experienced and proven leader with a clear vision for Arch’s future. He has spearheaded our recent growth initiatives, led Arch’s ongoing efforts to expand sales into the international arena, and solidified our position as the industry leader in safety and environmental stewardship.”
“I want to thank Steve and the rest of the Arch board for this remarkable opportunity,” Eaves said. “It will be an honor to lead Arch Coal and the thousands of employees who make this company great. Arch is exceptionally well positioned to capitalize on the rapid growth in energy demand around the world, and we will remain sharply focused on expanding our participation in global coal markets even as we continue to meet the need for secure and affordable energy here at home.”
Leer was elected CEO of Arch Mineral Corp., an Arch Coal predecessor, in 1992, and became CEO of Arch Coal when it was formed in July 1997. Under Leer’s leadership, Arch has grown from a regional coal company with sales volumes of around 20 million tons to the world’s fourth largest coal producer with volumes exceeding 155 million tons in 2011. Its latest expansion came in June 2011 with the purchase of International Coal Group, which, among other things, gave the company a much bigger presence in the metallurgical coal markets.
Eaves joined the corporation in 1987 after serving in various marketing-related positions at Diamond Shamrock and Natomas Coal Co. In 1997, he was elected vice president of marketing and president of Arch Coal Sales, the company’s marketing subsidiary; in 2000, he was elected senior vice president of marketing; and in 2002 he was elected executive vice president and COO. He has served as president and COO of Arch Coal since 2006. He serves on the board of CoaLogix and is the incoming chair of the National Coal Council, which is an advisory arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.