Greg Wilkins, a former CEO of Barrick Gold Corp. who served most recently as executive vice chairman, died after battling cancer for a year and a half, the company said Thursday. He was 53.
Wilkins died on Wednesday in Toronto of brain cancer, Barrick spokesman Vincent Borg said, and is survived by his wife, Vera, and children Mark and Lauren, the company said in a statement.
Wilkins served as president and CEO of Toronto-based Barrick, the world's leading gold producer, from 2003 to March 2008. He had been a member of Barrick's board of directors since 1991, and served as chief financial officer in the early 1990s.
"This is the loss of a dear friend who played a vital role in Barrick's growth," Barrick founder and Chairman Peter Munk said. "He worked alongside me building Barrick for almost 30 years."
Wilkins went on medical leave after his cancer diagnosis, then stepped down as president and CEO about four months later, when he became executive vice chairman. Munk served as acting CEO before Aaron Regent was named president and CEO in January 2009.
Wilkins, who became a chartered accountant in 1979, held a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Concorcdia University in his native Montreal.
Barrick's corporate headquarters in Toronto will be closed in tribute on the day of his memorial service. Arrangements were to be announced by his family.