Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced that CEO Marius Kloppers will be standing down from the position in May, with Andrew Mackenzie selected to replace him and join the Board.

Chairman of the BHP Billiton Board, Jac Nasser, commended Mr Klopper’s contribution to the company.

“Marius was appointed Chief Executive just prior to the global financial crisis. Despite an exceptionally difficult economic environment during his tenure, Marius and his team have delivered for shareholders, significantly outperforming our peers in terms of total shareholder returns,” Mr Nasser said.

“He leaves BHP Billiton a safer and stronger company.”

Mr Mackenzie, currently BHP Billiton’s Chief Executive Non-Ferrous, has held a number of senior positions with BP and Rio Tinto before he joined BHP Billiton in 2008 at the behest of Mr Kloppers.

“It is a privilege to be asked to lead one of Australia’s great companies and the world’s leading diversified natural resources company,” Mr Mackenzie said.

Mr Kloppers, who has served in the role since 2007, will retire from the group at the beginning of October this year.

Mr Kloppers described the decision to retire as difficult.

“I've been very fortunate to lead one of the world's great resource companies. Deciding the right time to retire was never going to be easy,” Mr Kloppers.

“However after almost twenty years with BHP Billiton, twelve as a senior executive and

nearly six as CEO, I believe now is the right time to pass the leadership baton.”