BHP Billiton Names Ken MacKenzie As New Chairman
BHP Billiton Ltd. said June 16 its board of directors has elected Ken MacKenzie as the company’s new chairman.
MacKenzie, an avid sailor, is not afraid to rock the boat. In his first two years running Australian packaging group Amcor Ltd., Canadian-born MacKenzie replaced 75% of the firm’s top 80 managers.
He implemented an aggressive turnaround plan, oversaw a company-changing $2 billion acquisition of the Alcan packaging businesses and pushed through a spin-off of its Australian boxes and bottles arm.
Named on June 16 to succeed Jac Nasser as BHP chairman from Sept. 1, MacKenzie’s early challenge will be to deal with calls for a revamp at the world’s biggest miner from activist shareholders.
MacKenzie’s track record included a near doubling of Amcor’s return on capital to 20% and boosting its share price 150% over 10 years.
A trained engineer, he implemented a turnaround plan at Amcor called “The Way Forward.” It was billed as “an aggressive get-fit program” for the company. The objective was simple: Amcor’s different businesses were to have strong positions in their markets. Businesses in weak positions were to be fixed, sold or closed.