Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

BHP names packaging guru MacKenzie as new chairman

BHP names packaging guru MacKenzie as new chairman

BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) names board director Ken MacKenzie as its new chairman, succeeding Jac Nasser effective September 1.

Ken MacKenzie, the former boss of global packaging giant Amcor, will take up the reins as chairman on 1 September.

The Canadian executive, who lives in Australia, has over 23 years of worldwide business experience and, according to Vadera, "has a proven track record of delivering value for shareholders".

Sacha Sadan, director of corporate governance at Legal and General Investment Management - the fifth biggest shareholder in BHP's London listing with 2.48 percent - said he welcomed the announcement of "a forward-thinking chairman".

He said he would "work tirelessly" with the board and management to create long-term value for shareholders.

- BHP's Australian shares were little changed by early afternoon in Sydney, down 0.3 percent to A$22.94. MacKenzie's tenure at Amcor "displayed strong leadership qualities as he successfully navigated the company through the financial crisis while making hard decisions to significantly improve shareholder returns", the hedge fund said.

He joins BHP at a time when activist investors, led by US-based hedge fund Elliott Management, are pressing for an overhaul of the mining giant's board and demanding an exit from U.S. oil and shale businesses.

In a statement, the United States investment group said: "BHP has an entrenched board, with long-tenured directors having approved the disastrous acquisitions and poorly timed share buybacks that are at the root of much of today's underperformance".

"But what will commence is the chorus of shareholders seeking change and rejuvenation of the board". Heidrick & Struggles, a leading worldwide recruitment firm, was hired to review internal and external candidates in the search for his replacement, according to BHP's statement. His predecessor, Don Argus, was also on BHP's board for several years before becoming chairman.

It means that Melbourne-based BHP has stuck with another business leader from that city to lead the company's board, Jac Nasser is from Melbourne and spent years there running Ford Australia.

MacKenzie grew up in Canada and started his career at Accenture.

Oversupply in some markets, coupled with industrial reforms, a transitioning economy and slower growth in China, the top commodities consumer, pose risks to materials prices, according to the World Bank.

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