CEO of BHP quits as slump in revenue reported

Yesterday’s announced departure of BHP Billiton’s Chief Executive Director, Marius Kloppers, came just hours before the company released its half yearly results (ended 31 December 2012) which reported a 14.1% slump in revenue.

Kloppers’ announced replacement, current Chief Executive of Non Ferrous, Andrew Mackenzie, said his priority in the top job would be to “sharpen the focus on cost control and capital discipline”.

Sounds like a wise move considering the company also posted $US1.4 billion ($A1.3 billion) in write-downs on its aluminium and nickel assets in Western Australia, which contributed to a 58% slump in its half-year profit to $4.2 billion.

However, Mackenzie said his focus on costs and capital discipline would continue the momentum begun by Kloppers.

“He has left the company in much better shape than he found it,” Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie is a former executive of BP and Rio Tinto, has a doctorate in Chemistry and a first-class degree in Geology. He joined BHP in 2007.

Rumours of Kloppers’ imminent departure began last year after a number of significant deals fell through under the CEO’s watch and several costly growth spending plans were shelved.

However in making the succession announcement, BHP Billiton Chairman Jac Nasser praised Kloppers and the contribution he made to the growth of the company.

“Marius was appointed Chief Executive just prior to the global financial crisis. Despite an exceptionally difficult economic environment during his tenure, Marius and his team have delivered for shareholders, significantly outperforming our peers in terms of total shareholder returns. He drove new investments into next generation opportunities including US onshore gas and liquids and created one of the most valuable companies in the world.

“He leaves BHP Billiton a safer and stronger company.”

Mr. Kloppers said his decision to retire was difficult.

“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.

“However after almost twenty years with BHP Billiton, twelve as a senior executive and nearly six as CEO, I believe now is the right time to pass the leadership baton.

Kloppers will officially retire as Chief Executive Officer and a Director of the company on 10 May 2013 and will retire from the Group on 1 October 2013.

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