BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, said on Thursday it had appointed Marius Kloppers as its new Chief Executive Officer to replace outgoing boss Chip Goodyear.
BHP said in a statement that South African-born Kloppers, currently group president non-ferrous materials and executive director, will take charge from Oct. 1, 2007.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity to lead an outstanding company with talented people and I am committed to continuing the great work of Chip and his team," Kloppers said in a statement.
Kloppers, 45, a former management consultant with McKinsey & Co, joined BHP in 1993 in the aluminum business and was a core member of the team that created the group's aluminum business.
His appointment comes at a time when global mining companies are looking at alliances to bolster their position in the mining boom, the strength of which has surprised many analysts.
BHP itself has been linked in recent weeks with moves for Rio Tinto and Canadian aluminum group Alcan, but has made no official moves.
"We are in a time of considerable change in our industry with the emergence of new markets and source of supply," Don Argus, Chairman of BHP Billiton said in a statement. "Marius' vast experience in the resources sector and his demonstrated strategic capabilities provide the skills we need in the next leader of our great company," he added.
Goodyear, 49, surprised the market in announcing his retirement back in February. He was the second-successive American to head the "The Big Australian" and will leave the company after nine years -- five as CEOs.
Kloppers, who joined the company via the 2001 merger with Billiton, was widely seen as Goodyear's replacement.