New BHP CEO has strong academic past

Scottish-born Andrew Mackenzie had an impressive academic career before rising to be the new chief executive of one of the world's largest resources company.

Mr Mackenzie has been named as the internal replacement for BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers, who on Wednesday announced his nearly six years as leader will come to an end on May 10.

The 56-year-old appointee has been promoted from chief executive of BHP's non-ferrous business, where he's managed 50,000 people across four continents and oversees BHP's Escondida mine in Chile, the world's largest single source of copper.

Mr Mackenzie grew up in the industrial town of Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow, and began his career as a geologist and organic geochemist.

Related: Marius Kloppers quits as BHP's profits fall

He holds a PhD in chemistry, and his research on steroidal molecular maturity parameters produced findings that are still in use by academics and oil explorers today.

Related: Are these Marius Kloppers' biggest mistakes?

Mr Mackenzie spent 22 years at BP before joining Rio Tinto as the head of its industrial minerals division in 2004, before he was persuased by Mr Kloppers to join BHP.

The married father of two daughters speaks five languages, and has lived in six countries on four continents during his career, BHP said on Wednesday.

He and his wife Liz will move to Melbourne in the coming months ahead of his new role.

Kloppers quits

Marius Kloppers will stand aside in May, after the world's biggest miner posted a 58 per cent fall in first-half net profit.

The result came in broadly in line with average analyst forecasts of a $US5.72 billion underlying profit, according to a Bloomberg survey.

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