After Tom Albanese, It is BHP’s Marius Kloppers’ Turn to Step Down

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 20, 2013 11:34 AM EST

After the unexpected firing of Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) Chief Executive Tom Albanese, it was the turn on Wednesday of BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) Chief Executive Marius Kloppers to step down.

However, Mr Kloppers is not being booted out, but retiring from the giant mining firm which logged a 58 per cent decline in first half profit to $4.24 billion because of lower commodity prices and weak U.S. currency.

Eight months ago, Mr Kloppers had warned that the mining boom would not last forever.

To replace Mr Kloppers, who retires on Oct 1, 2013 is Andrew Mckenzie, the 56-year-old chief executive of the non-ferrous division and head of the Olympic Dam project.

Mr McKenzie has been with BHP since November 2008 and brought more than 30 years of experience in oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals. He holds a doctorate in Chemistry and a degree in Geology.

BHP Chairman Jac Nasser said that Mr Kloppers is leaving the number one miner a safer and stronger 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 U.S. onshore gas and liquids and created one of the most valuable companies in the world," Mr Nasser said in a statement.

He said the appointment of Mr McKenzie, considered the right person to lead BHP in a changing global environment, is proof that the company's succession planning process has served the miner well for more than a decade. Mr Nasser said the announcement is the result of a planned and considered process.

BHP also wrote off $3 billion on its Worsley alumina and Nickel West assets, but these writedowns were not the cause behind's Mr Kloppers' leaving BHP.

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