PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Mining giant BHP Billiton’s CEO Marius Kloppers on Wednesday announced his intention to retire on May 10, with the company appointing non-ferrous CEO Andrew Mackenzie as the new chief.
“I’ve been very fortunate to lead one of the world’s great resource companies. Deciding the right time to retire was never going to be easy,” Kloppers said.
“However, after almost 20 years with BHP, 12 as a senior executive and nearly six as CEO, I believe now is the right time to pass the leadership baton.”
Kloppers told a media briefing on Wednesday that succession planning processes had been initiated at the start of his term as CEO, and added that Mackenzie had been identified early on as a possible candidate.
“I'm proud to be handing the reigns over to him, particularly at a time when the company is in such great shape and [has] outperformed its peer group so comprehensively,” Kloppers said.
Mackenzie on Wednesday said that he was looking forward to the transition period with Kloppers, and building on the legacy left behind by the South African.
“I am grateful that the board’s succession process will allow me, together with Kloppers, to spend the next two months meeting with and listening to our people, our shareholders and the many stakeholders that contribute to our company’s success,” he added.
Mackenzie told reporters that his focus as the new CEO would remain on productivity and capital discipline.
“There are lots of things that are great about this company that I have no intent of changing. We have a fabulous strategy that has served our shareholders extremely well. I am going to continue this momentum that we have built to put an even sharper focus on the execution of that strategy.”
Mackenzie said that the company would work towards putting force behind its major orebodies, with a focus on productivity, to continue BHP’s track record of delivering some of the world’s lowest-cost-per-ton mines, and some of the highest capital productivity.
“BHP is the biggest mining company in the world, we have the licence to operate some of the world’s best orebodies and some of the most distinctive oil and gas fields; that means that we have a critical role to play in ensuring the supply of basic commodities the world needs to grow.”
Klopper's resignation comes shortly after a similar resignation by rival Rio Tinto's chief Tom Albanese in January this year, after the company reported a $14-billion impairment for 2012.