CLEVELAND, Oct. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Gary B. Halverson, 55, formerly interim chief operating officer of Barrick Gold Corporation Inc., to the newly created position of president and chief operating officer, effective Nov. 18, 2013. In addition, he will be serving as a director on Cliffs' Board. With the addition of Mr. Halverson and the previously announced retirement of Joseph Carrabba, Cliffs' Board will be comprised of a total of 11 directors. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101104/CLIFFSLOGO) Cliffs' Board also announced that James Kirsch, non-executive chairman of the Board, has been elected executive chairman of the Board, effective Nov. 18, 2013. As part of Cliffs CEO succession planning, the Company formed the Office of the Chairman led by Mr. Kirsch to manage the leadership transition. Over the coming months, his focus will be to refine the Company's long-term strategy and continue to provide continuity during the leadership transition. This will provide Mr. Halverson the opportunity to build a deep understanding of the business at an operating level before assuming the CEO leadership position. Mr. Halverson will report to Mr. Kirsch as executive chairman and, in turn, all members of the current Cliffs' executive leadership team will report directly to Mr. Halverson. In addition, Joseph Carrabba will retire as president and CEO, and will also step down as a director of Cliffs' Board effective at the close of business on Nov. 15, 2013. James Kirsch, Cliffs' chairman of the Board, said, "I am very pleased that Gary is joining Cliffs as he brings over 30 years of mining experience and a breadth of leadership skills well suited to lead our business. Gary's leadership experience in operating mines across Canada, the U.S. and Asia Pacific, coupled with his large-scale project execution track record and cultural fit, made him a compelling choice based on the Board's expectations for Cliffs' performance." Kirsch added, "As a global mining executive, Gary has a proven track record and possesses deep technical and operational expertise. His financial discipline lines up well with our focus on cost management and the major investment decisions that are on the horizon. Cliffs needs a strong leader who can manage this business through the inevitable and highly volatile cycles in a disciplined, value-enhancing manner."