One of the world's most senior oil and gas executives, former Royal Dutch Shell veteran Malcolm Brinded, has joined the board of BHP Billiton and will be in the mix to become the next chairman of Australia's biggest company.
Mr Brinded's appointment yesterday as a non-executive director will be seen as BHP beefing up the level of oil and gas experience in its boardroom at it tries to turn its US-focused petroleum unit into one of four pillars of its long-term profit growth strategy.
Announcing Mr Brinded's appointment, BHP chairman Jac Nasser referred to a "structured and rigours approach" to board succession and planning.
"Malcolm's deep experience in energy, governance and sustainability will make a significant contribution to the board as we identify and address the future needs of the business and the communities in which we operate," Mr Nasser, who has chaired BHP since 2010, said.
Mr Brinded's initial director's notice declares he has an interest in 12,000 London-listed BHP shares, which last night were worth Â£19.12 ($34) each. He retired as a Shell executive director and head of exploration and production in 2012 after 37 years with the Anglo-Dutch giant.