As chairman of Peabody Energy’s Australian operations, Eric Ford has played a pivotal role in the dramatic transformation of the company, growing productivity and encouraging innovation. During his time as chief operating officer in St Louis, and now as Brisbane-based head of Australian operations, Eric has seen Peabody grow as the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining and clean-coal solutions.

Eric recently sat down with The CEO Magazine to discuss his views on Australia and its mining industry and the evolution of Peabody Energy. "I was just 16 when I started, and at that age you don’t know anything at all. However, after a while working in the industry—and I’ve seen it in myself and with others—one starts to think, Gosh, maybe I do know quite a lot".

"I think one of the problems that we all face when we’ve been in an industry for such a long time is you have to learn to be patient and listen to people in order to try to learn from them, because we don’t know it all. I think we get less patient the further we progress in the industry, and we tend to pre-judge people’s ability and experience and guess what they’re trying to tell us, instead of listening".