Kloppers credited with boosting power status of BHP Billiton

UPDATE: THE impending departure of BHP Billiton chief executive officer Marius Kloppers was marked by a televised press conference from Sydney where he was treated as something of a corporate hero.

His resignation was flagged in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange before markets opened on Wednesday alongside sobering financial results.

He now had until May 10 to help anointed replacement Andrew Mackenzie - the head of BHP's non-ferrous mining division - prepare for the new role.

BHP's half-year figures showing its metal-making coal business had lost more than a billion dollars in just 12 months.

The met-coal business, which was primarily made up of Central Queensland mines, now faced a loss of $97.4 million, compared to the $1.4 billion profit it posted the year before.

Overall, BHP announced its profits had fallen by 43% to $5.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the $4.2 billion of projects for Central Queensland including the Daunia and Caval Ridge mines, plus expansions at both Hay Point and Broadmeadow mine remained on schedule.

At the conference, Mr Kloppers was credited with having lifted BHP above the already-powerful status it held when he took over in 2007.

But the tributes that flowed from board chairman Jac Nasser and Mr Mackenzie were not shared by the Queensland coal miners union - the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union - that was never able to meet the man in person.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance and the union waged a fierce industrial relations war that only ended in mid-2012 after an intervention from the Federal Govenrment.

CFMEU Mining and Energy division general secretary Andrew Vickers said the way BHP dealt with workers under his stewardship "bordered on brutal".

Mr Vickers also recalls the day BHP Mitsubishi Alliance announced 1100 jobs would be sliced from Central Queensland operations in 2009, as it grappled with the onslaught of the GFC.

"I have to say I barely know Marius Kloppers, he never deigned to meet with us or workers' families who wanted to meet with him.

"I think (Mr) Kloppers would be - in my memory - the only (BHP chief executive) that has not seen fit to accept an invitation to meet with senior officials of the union."

Mr Mackenzie was marked as a potential chief executive just days after Mr Kloppers took the job from his predecessor Chip Goodyear.

The Scotsman has a science degree in Geology and a PhD in Chemistry.

In his current role, he manages 50,000 people across four continents, including the world's largest copper mine in Chile.

Mr Mackenzie told media he expected to build on momentum built by Mr Kloppers, but was passionate at keeping costs low and productivity high.


Kloppers describes replacement as 'great friend, great leader'

THE first job for incoming BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie is to target and woo a potential successor.

In a joint press conference featuring Mr Mackenzie, who heads BHP's non-ferrous mining division, outgoing chief executive Marius Kloppers and board chairman Jac Nasser, Mr Kloppers told journalists it was his first job when he took the role from predecessor Chip Goodyear in 2007 in the immediate prelude to the Global Financial Crisis.

The resignation of Mr Kloppers was announced to the Australian Stock Exchange before it opened this morning.

In the conference, the outgoing chief executive said he made a call to Mr Mackenzie two days after taking the job in an effort to secure him as a future leader.

Mr Kloppers described his replacement as "a great friend, great leader" who would improve the company.

He said on his first day he was told "congratulations, now find a successor", advice he said were now passed on to Mr Mackenzie.

Mr Mackenzie said he was "deeply humbled" to be selected for the job.

After thanking both Mr Kloppers and Mr Nasser, Mr Mackenzie said he would focus on learning as much as he could from the outgoing CEO before his planned May departure.

"Marius isn't going anywhere soon," Mr Mackenzie said.

"He's staying in the job for three months so I can assimilate the responsibility I've now been given."

In the statement to the ASX, Mr Nasser said under the stewardship of Mr Kloppers, there had been new investments during particularly trying times.

"He leaves BHP Billiton a safer and stronger company," Mr Nasser said.

"In succeeding Marius, Andrew brings a unique combination of deep industry knowledge and global management experience to the CEO role."

The stock announcement did not detail who would take on Mr Mackenzie's role when he steps into the CEO position in May.


EARLIER: Marius Kloppers has resigned as CEO of mining giant BHP Billiton.

A statement announcing Mr Kloppers' resignation was released by the Australian Stock Exchange before the market opened this morning.

Mr Kloppers, who joined the mining multi-national just before the global financial crisis, will retire from the job on May 10.

He will be succeeded by Andrew Mackenzie, the company's current chief executive of non-ferrous mining.

Mr Mackenzie, who joined BHP in 2008, brings to the job more than 30 years' experience across the oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals sectors.

BHP chairman Jac Nasser said Mr Kloppers had driven new investments during the trying economic times, primarily in onshore gas developments in the United States.

"He leaves BHP Billiton a safer and stronger company," Mr Nasser said in a statement.

"In succeeding Marius, Andrew brings a unique combination of deep industry knowledge and global management experience to the CEO role."

The stock announcement did not detail who would take on Mr Mackenzie's role when he steps into the CEO position in May.

Topics:  bhp billiton business marius kloppers mining industry

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