Canadian gold mining company IAMGold unexpectedly announced Monday its CEO will depart effective Jan. 15.
President and CEO Joseph Conway, who joined the company in 2003, said in a statement he agreed with the board that it is "an appropriate time for me to step down as an executive of the company."
The company has started a search for his successor. Peter Jones, a director, will be acting CEO until a permanent successor is named.
The company, based in Toronto, has been expanding its reach. In October, it said it expects to spend $56 million this year exploring for gold, up from last year's $50 million as it pursues prospects in Suriname and Mali. IAMGold also operates in Quebec and Brazil.
In a note to investors, George Albino, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, said the impact for the company will likely be negative.
"We have seen an impressive turn-around at Iamgold over the last couple of years," he said. "We do not doubt that Mr. Conway contributed significantly to the company's improved delivery to commitment and improved valuation relative to the company's peers."
Without a permanent replacement at the ready, he said the market will view the announcement as a "source of confusion" regarding the company's leadership.
He kept his "Outperform" rating on the stock.
Shares rose 41 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $16.05 during afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $5.25 and $21 during the past year.