New BHP boss shakes up top jobs

The new boss of global mining titan BHP Billiton unveiled a sweeping management shake-up on Thursday, installing a new team charged with driving productivity and keeping costs down.

Andrew Mackenzie officially takes over as chief executive from Marius Kloppers on May 10 but is already stamping his mark on the world's biggest miner which has seen profits hit by weak commodity prices and cool Chinese demand.

The raft of changes include the departure of the head of the petroleum division, which analysts have said will be a new investment priority. Mike Yeager will leave in July and be replaced by Tim Cutt, president of BHP's diamonds division.

In other changes, Alberto Calderon, previously head of the miner's aluminium and nickel units, will leave the group management committee but remain with the company as an advisor to Mackenzie.

Marcus Randolph, previously chief of ferrous and coal and a contender for the chief executive job that Mackenzie won, will leave the management committee next month, with his future role unclear.

"I am delighted that I have been able to draw on the deep pool of executive talent in BHP Billiton to fill these critical leadership roles," Mackenzie said.

"It is evidence of our considerable people pipeline and our disciplined approach to succession planning."

The company announced in February that Kloppers would step down after almost six years in the job as it posted a plunge in first-half net profit of 58 percent to US$4.2 billion, hurt by steep falls in commodity prices.

On Wednesday, BHP affirmed full-year guidance for its major products, reporting a "robust" March quarter of output.

BHP said it expected to meet full-year targets with solid performances at iron ore and coal sites.


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