BHP profits slide, boss to retire

Marius Kloppers, the boss of BHP Billiton is to retire, it has been announced. He will be replaced 56-year-old Scotsman Andrew Mackenzie.

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

In making the announcement BHP Billiton Chairman Jac Nasser acknowledged the outstanding contribution Mr Kloppers made to the growth of BHP Billiton: "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."

The new boss insisted he would not change much about the world's biggest miner's current strategy.

"I look forward to working closely with Marius during the transition and building on his legacy including continuing the focus on our strategy of owning and safely operating large, low cost, long life assets diversified by commodity, geography and market," Mackenzie said.

However, Kloppers said BHP could no longer "rely on the tailwind of prices" and he did not think the recent spikes in iron ore prices - which it is already committed to expanding - would be sustained.

BHP also reported a worse-than-expected 58 percent fall in first half profit, driven by lower iron ore, coking coal and oil and gas prices, cost increases and a weak US dollar.

BHP's net profit fell to $US4.24 billion in the six months to December 31 from $US9.94 billion in the previous corresponding period.

The result included $US1.4 billion in one-off costs from asset sales and write-downs.

Excluding one-off items, the underlying profit was $US5.7 billion, down 43 percent but in line with analysts' expectations.

Image: Getty

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