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Anglo American chief's salvo to his execs as he slashes costs

Anglo American's new chief executive, Mark Cutifani, has unveiled a dramatic recovery plan to slash costs, send expensive projects back to the drawing board and overhaul management at the troubled iron ore-to-diamonds miner.

The 55-year-old Australian challenged his executives to get their "arses into gear" to achieve a $1.3bn (£845m) a year boost to cash flow, as he announced a desperately poor set of first-half results yesterday.

Profit before one-off costs was shy of $3.3bn, which was 15 per cent down on the first six months of last year and symptomatic of a business that has seen its share price lose around 60 per cent of its value since 2011. Revenue fell 1 per cent to $16.2bn.

Mr Cutifani, who instigated a highly detailed review of Anglo as soon as he succeeded the much-criticised Cynthia Carroll in April, said: "You've got to have renewal and I'm part of that renewal process. I'm the only new face, therefore I bring [a different] perspective."

However, Mr Cutifani has drafted in a trusted lieutenant from his previous company, AngloGold Ashanti, as part of a revamp that sees 10 business units consolidated into just six in an effort to cut out bureaucracy.

Tony O'Neill has been made group technical director, as part of what Mr Cutifani said is the "most international" leadership team among the major miners.

Tough talk: Going like the kloppers

The ultra-macho league of leaders that runs the world's biggest mining groups lost arguably its most outspoken character when Marius Kloppers stepped down as BHP Billiton boss this year.

While Mr Cutifani is unlikely to jokingly threaten to kill a divisional head in front of the press, yesterday's media call at least showed that he's got a talent for providing a meaty quote. As well as saying Anglo's executives must get their "arses into gear", he also spoke of a "constipated" project pipeline and "unacceptably poor" performance.

Mr Cutifani also spoke of getting more "discipline" in the business, a skill likely to have been developed through raising seven children.