The BHP Billiton Board today announced that Mr Don Argus AC will retire as Chairman and a Non-executive Director on 30 March 2010. As previously announced, Non-executive Director, Jac Nasser AO, will assume the role of Chairman of BHP Billiton from that date.
Mr Nasser said, "The Board wishes to pay special tribute to the immense contribution Don Argus has made to BHP Billiton over many years of dedicated service. In the thirteen years since he joined the BHP Board, and particularly over his ten years as Chairman, Don has led BHP Billiton to the distinctive leadership role in its sector.
"Don will be remembered for being instrumental in transforming and truly internationalising BHP through the merger with Billiton to become BHP Billiton, the world's largest diversified resources dual listed company. Shareholders, employees and, in fact, all stakeholders with an interest in this business have benefited from his Chairmanship. He introduced leading corporate governance practices, an active approach to institutional and retail shareholder engagement and built a multi skilled and diversified Board supported by a first class management team. This has seen an increase in market capitalisation of BHP Billiton from US$31 billion in 2001 to US$190 billion today, operating 100 assets in over 25 countries."
Mr Argus said, "I want to sincerely thank our shareholders for their support. It has always been my underpinning principle to respect shareholders as the owners of the company, as it is to them I have been accountable for the governance and performance of BHP Billiton. It has been an outstanding highlight in my life, and an extraordinary privilege, to serve as Chairman."
From 30 March 2010, Mr Nasser will discontinue executive management responsibilities with One Equity Partners, the private equity arm of JP Morgan, and continue in an advisory and non-executive role. He will also remain a Director on British Sky Broadcasting Plc and a member of the International Advisory Council of Allianz AG.
"The succession process has facilitated a seamless transition. My priority commitment will be the Chairmanship of BHP Billiton duly recognising the challenges of a dual listed company structure and the requirements to represent the interests of all shareholders in our key markets," Mr Nasser concluded.