New man to head Bil­li­ton’s board

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

BHP BIL­LI­TON named for­mer pack­ag­ing com­pany head Ken MacKen­zie to chair its board, a move sup­ported by the most tren­chant critic of the min­ing gi­ant as it grap­ples with a mount­ing chal­lenge from restive in­vestors and slow­ing growth in top cus­tomer China.

MacKen­zie, 53, who will take up the role on Septem­ber 1, re­places the out­go­ing Jac­ques Nasser, 69, the world’s big­gest min­ing com­pany said on Fri­day. The new chair­per­son was ap­pointed to BHP’s board in Septem­ber 2016 af­ter more than dou­bling the mar­ket value of Aus­tralia’s largest pack­ag­ing com­pany Am­cor in a decade-long spell as chief ex­ec­u­tive that ended in 2015.

The ap­point­ment is “bring­ing much needed change to the di­rec­tion of BHP,” bil­lion­aire Paul Singer’s El­liott Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, which is de­mand­ing a cor­po­rate over­haul, said. MacKen­zie’s ten­ure at Am­cor “dis­played strong lead­er­ship qual­i­ties as he suc­cess­fully nav­i­gated the com­pany through the fi­nan­cial cri­sis while mak­ing dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove share­holder re­turns,” the hedge fund said.

Mon­treal-born MacKen­zie had al­ready won pub­lic sup­port from other in­vestors, who re­gard him as un­touched by pre­vi­ous mis­steps on shale as­set deals. – Bloomberg

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