CEOs of mining companies should polish their resumes. BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers became the latest boss of a major mining company to lose his job, with the company announcing he will be replaced by Andrew Mackenzie later this year.
In the last two years, more than 20 mining CEOs have stepped down or retired because of ballooning costs, decreasing commodity prices and failed deals.
For BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, news of a new CEO came as it reported a 43% drop in profit for the second half of last year. Kloppers also drove BHP’s efforts to acquire Canada’s Potash Corp of Saskatchewan for $40 billion in 2010, which BHP was forced to drop after Canadian government opposition.
Rio Tinto’s CEO Tom Albanese left his job in January because of bad deals leading to a $14 billion write down. Anglo American’s Cynthia Carroll will depart her post this spring. Bloomberg reported that mining companies have had to write down about $50 billion because of expansion plans gone awry.
That means that after years of binging in the mining industry, big, transformative deals are likely off the table as companies focus on ways to increase liquidity and shut down weaker operations to focus on capital for stronger projects. Companies will also likely focus more on divestitures.
And mining CEOs will have to focus on ways they can keep their jobs.