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The company declined to confirm press reports that chairman Jac Nasser was leading efforts to identify a replacement.
But a BHP spokeswoman told Steel First: “Succession planning for the ceo and senior management team is an on-going process and one of the most critical tasks of any board.”
“BHP Billiton’s board has always ensured that it has a well-integrated, continual succession process in place for our most senior executives,” she added.
Kloppers, ceo since 2007, led the charge by the major iron ore miners to shift sales to a shorter-term pricing system.
The search for successor is at the preliminary stage and “could take another 12 to 24 months”, the Financial Times said in a report on Tuesday, citing unidentified sources.
The news came after Cynthia Carroll resigned as ceo of Anglo American at the end of last month after more than five years on the job.
She will remain in her post, however, until a successor is appointed.
BHP Billiton has begun a search for a successor to ceo Marius Kloppers, as he enters his sixth year at the helm.