Marius Kloppers, one of the biggest names in world mining, was paid $16 million (£10 million) in his final year leading BHP Billiton, it emerged today.
Although the South African’s six-year tenure as chief executive was tarnished by expensive failures to take over fierce rival Rio Tinto and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Kloppers earned almost $10.4 million in long-term bonuses last year.
He officially leaves next month but Scotland-born Andrew Mackenzie has been in the hot seat since May. However, to reflect the tough times the mining industry has suffered in recent years, Mackenzie is paid a base salary of £1.7 million, almost 25 per cent less than his predecessor.
Mackenzie’s pension contribution is also down on Kloppers’ 36 per cent of base salary to 25 per cent. There have also been cuts to bonuses for the group’s leading executives.
In BHP’s annual report, published today, chairman Jac Nasser praised Kloppers for making BHP a “safer and financially stronger” company. But he warned that oversupply of metals and minerals has “exerted downward pressure” on many commodity prices, a trend he expects to continue in the short term.
Mackenzie said: “This is a challenging yet very rewarding time to be at the helm of the world’s leading diversified resources company. We believe our proven strategy, when combined with our great ore bodies and operational focus on productivity, will deliver stronger margins throughout the economic cycle, a simpler and more capital efficient structure, a substantial increase in free cash flow and growth in shareholder value.”
Kloppers is one of several big mining names to have left the industry this year. Mick Davis quit Xstrata after the Switzerland-based group was taken over by wheat-to-zinc trader Glencore while the oft-criticised Cynthia Carroll left Anglo American.
The latter’s successor, Mark Cutifani, today said Anglo has sold its Amapa iron-ore operation in Brazil to Zamin Ferrous for $136 million and had settled 23 claims of silicosis without admitting liability.