CEO of the Year: Large company finalists


Richard O’Brien, president and CEO, Newmont Mining Corp.

Under O’Brien, who took the helm in 2007, this 89-year-old Denver-based company has continued a rigorous self-examination and sharpening of policies in recent years to earn some praise for environmental stewardship as well as mining success after suffering from negative reviews from environmentalists a decade earlier.
It was this year’s Top Company winner in the Energy/Natural Resources category.
In 2007, under pressure from socially conscious investors because of health concerns at its operations in Peru and Indonesia, Newmont took the rare step of agreeing to allow an independent team to conduct a Community Relationships Review at six of its sites around the world, an analysis it described as unprecedented in the industry.
The committee also established an independent advisory panel that includes leading experts on mining and community relationships issues to provide advice throughout the process and recommendations for improvement.
Largely because of that, Newmont, primarily a gold producer, has been credited for its transparency and openness with stakeholders. In 2007, Newmont became the first gold company selected to be part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, noted for its high standards in environmental management, health and safety for employees and for creating value and opportunity for host communities and shareholders.
Newmont, which has 35,000 employees and contractors worldwide, posted a record $7.7 billion in revenues last year for a 26 percent increase over 2008.
– Mike Taylor


Kent Thiry, CEO, DaVita

Even among the elite of Denver’s business executives, DaVita CEO Kent Thiry was conspicuous during the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s visit to Portland in September, socializing with now Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper.
As city and state economic development champions bemoan, it’s tough attracting a Fortune 500 corporation to town. With DaVita – the second largest dialysis services provider in the U.S. – Colorado has a company that already has 200 workers setting down roots in Denver.
DaVita plans to spend more than $100 million to build its 270,000-square-foot downtown headquarters near Union Station and move its executive staff from El Segundo, Calif. Plans call for the company to initially employ about 450 workers at the new site, according to published reports.
Thiry has been chairman and CEO of DaVita since 1999. Its more than 35,000 employees provide kidney care to about 123,000 people. Thiry has been credited with taking DaVita, previously known as Total Renal Care, from the brink of bankruptcy to an industry leader with more than $6 billion in revenue and 1,700 locations. Prior to joining DaVita, Thiry was chairman and CEO of Vivra Specialty Partners, a private health-care services and technology organization.
Earlier this year, Fortune magazine recognized DaVita among its Most Admired Companies for the fifth consecutive year. DaVita ranked first among health care medical facilities overall. The University Kidney Research Organization honored Thiry in 2008 with the Outstanding Achievement in Business and Industry Award.

–Mike Cote