Heidrick & Struggles help BHP mine for exec talent

Heidrick & Struggles help BHP mine for exec talent

Executive Grapevine
Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Heidrick & Struggles have been employed to help the world’s largest mining company find a new Chairman – Reuters reports.

BHP’s Board is set to select a new Chairman this month, replacing former boss Jac Nasser.

The firm has been searching for a replacement since Nasser, the former boss at Ford Motor, announced his retirement for this coming October.

BHP faced pressures from US-based activist investor Elliott Management, which owns 4.1% of BHP’s shares, over its strategy. A source close to Elliott told Reuters last month that they would be willing to back an internal candidate for the role.

Both Nasser and the former Chairman, Don Argus, served on the Board for at least three years prior to taking on the Chairman role.  

Andy Forster, Portfolio Manager at Argo Investments, said he expects BHP to choose an existing Board member. “It would be surprising if someone external was to beat them and have the understanding of the business,” he said. “If you look at Jac, they don't necessarily have to have someone with direct mining experience.”

On the contrary, Craig Evans, the Co-portfolio Manager of the fund, would prefer an external candidate. “The existing Board hasn't covered itself in glory,” he said. “We have concerns that the majority of the board has been in charge for the financial underperformance and have not shown a track record of respecting shareholder capital compounded by the safety issues at (Brazil iron ore mine) Samarco.”

BHP and Heidrick & Struggles declined to comment.

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