BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers has become the second chief executive at the big miners to fall within a month, announcing this morning he had resigned.
Mr Kloppers' exit follows Rio Tinto's axing of chief executive Tom Albanese in January.
Rumours that BHP had been preparing to replace Mr Kloppers have circulated since late last year, when it was leaked that the company had hired a high-end recruitment agency to sift through potential replacements for Mr Kloppers, who was appointed to the top job at the global miner just prior to the onset of the global financial crisis.
Like Rio Tinto, however, BHP has opted for an internal candidate, appointing chief executive non-ferrous Andrew Mackenzie to replace Mr Kloppers.
The news of Mr Klopper's departure came as BHP Billiton reported its half year results, declaring an underlying before-tax profit of $US9.8 billion and a net profit (excluding exceptional items) of $US5.7 billion.
More to come