MELBOURNE (Reuters) – BHP Group Ltd (BHP.AX) (BHPB.L) on Thursday named its Australian head Mike Henry to succeed Andrew Mackenzie as the miner’s chief executive, shunning calls from some investors for fresh blood from outside the Anglo Australian giant.
Mackenzie, 62, will step down on Dec. 31 ending nearly seven years in charge of the biggest global miner, during which time he overhauled the company, spinning off a raft of assets and cutting costs sharply.
Henry, a 53-year-old Canadian who joined BHP in 2003, has led its Australian operations over the past three years, including its biggest earner, iron ore, and the world’s largest metallurgical coal operations.
He takes the helm just as slowing growth in China, the company’s biggest customer, as well as environmental and social issues, raise new risks and threaten to dent profits across the industry.
In his first year, he will have to lead the group’s decision on whether to go ahead with a long-planned $17 billion push into potash mining in Canada. Analysts and investors who welcomed his appointment said he was a sensible choice among the candidates who were touted.
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