BHP Billiton becomes third FTSE 100 global mining giant to change CEO in as many months


BHP Billiton became the third of the FTSE 100 global mining giants to change its chief executive in as many months as the industry braces itself for a long period of sluggish resources prices.

Scottish former BP executive Andrew Mackenzie will replace Marius Kloppers, who has headed the mining group for nearly six years, in early May. Cynthia Carroll is stepping down from Anglo American and Tom Albanese resigned from Rio Tinto last month.

Kloppers, who is 50, will retire in October and is not expected to receive a lump-sum pay-off. Last year he suffered a pay cut with his package reduced from $11.6 million (£7.5 million) to $9.8 million.

BHP said it would reveal Mackenzie’s new package shortly before he steps up. He was paid $5 million last year, down from $9.4 million. Sources suggested he would move up to similar pay as Kloppers.

Mackenzie, 56, spent 22 years with BP where his final job was as head of its US business overseeing the merger with Amoco. He moved to Rio Tinto in 2004, heading its industrial minerals division until he was poached by Kloppers for BHP in 2007.

He and his wife of 35 years, Liz, will move to Melbourne, where BHP is headquartered. Chairman Jac Nasser said: “Marius and his team have delivered for shareholders, significantly outperforming our peers in terms of total shareholder returns. He leaves BHP Billiton a safer and stronger company.

“Andrew brings a unique combination of deep industry knowledge and global management experience to the CEO role. Our succession planning process has served the company well for over a decade. Today’s announcement is a result of that planned and considered process. The board has decided  that Andrew is the right person  to lead BHP Billiton in a changing global environment.”

The group reported first-half profit after tax but excluding one-off items down 43% from $9.94 billion to $4.7 billion as a result of falls in iron ore and other commodity prices in 2012.

The shares dropped 50p to 2187p.