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BHP share price: what’s the outlook as new CEO is named

We take a look at the details behind BHP’s newest CEO appointment.

You cannot resist the inevitable.

On this front today BHP’s Board announced the appointment of a new CEO.

At the open, the BHP share price fell 1.59% in response, though currently hovers around the $36.20 per share mark.

As part of the transition, BHP’s current CEO, Andrew Mackenzie will step down from his role on December 31, 2019. He will officially retire from BHP Group on June 30, 2020.

In his place, Mike Henry, a BHP company man, is set to assume the top-spot, starting January 1, 2020.

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The CEO heir apparent

Mr Henry, having joined BHP back in 2003 has held a broad range of roles at the big three miner, ‘including President Coal, President HSE, Marketing and Technology, and Chief Marketing Officer.’

Maybe more importantly however, Mr Henry, the soon-to-be-CEO is described as having:

‘30 years’ experience in the global mining and petroleum industry, spanning operational, commercial, safety, technology and marketing roles.’

BHP share price: is the outlook much the same?

Trying to decipher the true meaning from media releases is always tricky business. Even so, some of Mr Henry’s comments around today’s announcement suggests that his appointment is unlikely to mark any kind of radical departure from BHP’s current focuses.

Indeed, one of BHP’s core philosophies of value over volume looks set to continue, with Mr Henry noting that:

‘We will unlock even greater value from our ore bodies and petroleum basins by enabling our people with the capability, data and technology to innovate and improve.’

Other remarks also suggest that BHP will continue to place a focus on environmental concerns – a fact the miner has often been lauded for – with Mr Henry pointing out that:

‘We must operate safely, with discipline and reduce our impact on the environment. With the right people and the right culture we will deliver value and strong returns for shareholders and for all of society.’

The Mackenzie legacy

Though the BHP share price has only risen 13% since May 2013, the time in which Mr Mackenzie was first appointed as CEO, he has nonetheless grown shareholder wealth substantially through a focus on dividends.

In an August article from the Australian Financial Review for example, it was pointed out that:

‘BHP has returned $US29 billion ($42.8 billion) in capital since January 1, 2016 including the record final dividend payout of $US4 billion, or US78c a share.’

Capital gains aren’t everything, I guess.

Income focused investors will probably be hopeful that Mr Mackenzie left a lasting impression on this front.

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