* Incoming CEO promotes operations chiefs
* CEO takes pay cut as miners suffer
* BHP shares fall 3 pct as metals prices slide
SYDNEY, April 18 BHP Billiton's new chief
executive will take a pay cut as miners struggle with tougher
market conditions, and has stripped out a layer of top
executives who were overlooked for the top job and brought
operations heads into his management team.
Incoming Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie has previously
said there would be no major change in the world's biggest
miner's strategy but has pledged to focus on slashing costs,
improving operations and boosting returns as miners grapple with
slower growth in China and volatile commodities prices.
"It looks like there's a reduction in the tiers of the
hierarchy, which is a positive given the intensive focus on
costs. I think that should be well received by the market," said
Ben Lyons, an analyst at ATI Asset Management, which owns BHP
BHP said on Thursday petroleum boss Michael Yeager,
59, would leave the company next month, as Mackenzie, who takes
over on May 10, stamped his authority on the company.
Yeager, who had been touted as a potential successor to
outgoing CEO Marius Kloppers before Mackenzie was tapped for the
job in February, will retire on July 2.
Yeager will be replaced by Tim Cutt, who will lead petroleum
as well as potash, one of the key products the company is
targeting for growth.
Aluminium and nickel boss Alberto Calderon, 52, who had been
another contender for the top job, will leave the group's
management committee but will remain as an adviser to Mackenzie
until 2014, BHP said.
Ferrous and coal head Marcus Randolph, a third internal CEO
candidate, will leave the management committee on May 10.
Randolph, 56, is on sick leave and not expected to return until
the middle of the year.
His role has been eliminated, with the head of iron ore,
Jimmy Wilson, and new head of coal, Dean Dalla Valle, to report
directly to Mackenzie.
"The composition and structure of the team reflects my
commitment to a relentless focus on the safe execution of BHP
Billiton's strategy," Mackenzie said in a statement.
Fund managers said the departure of Yeager, the architect of
BHP's pricey expansion into shale gas in the United States which
spawned writedowns last year, was the main surprise.
The chief executive's base salary has been cut to $1.7
million a year with a maximum short-term incentive opportunity
of 240 percent of the base. The long-term incentive award for
2013 is pegged at 400 percent of the base value.
Mackenzie's base salary is $150,000 less than outgoing boss
Marius Kloppers earned, and the maximum short-term incentive is
down from 320 percent. The company has also slashed his pension
contribution to 25 percent from 40 percent of his salary.
The reshuffle comes a day after BHP, the world's No. 3 iron
ore miner behind Vale SA and Rio Tinto Ltd
, said production rates were nearing 200 million tonnes a
year, and maintained its guidance for fiscal 2013 output of 183
Marketing and technology head Mike Henry, chief financial
officer Graham Kerr, and people and public affairs president
Karen Wood, remain on the management committee, which BHP said
would ensure a good balance of existing and new team members.
They will be joined by copper president Peter Beaven, new
aluminium, manganese and nickel boss Daniel Malchuk, chief legal
counsel Geoff Healy and group company secretary Jane McAloon,
along with Wilson in iron ore and Dalla Valle in coal.
BHP's shares fell 3 percent in early trade, in line with
other miners under pressure after the International Monetary
Fund cut its forecasts for global economic growth.
The major miners' shares have fallen more than 13 percent so
far this year in a broader market that has risen nearly