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BHP's chairman says speculation of a set tenure for CEO is false

[LONDON] The new chairman of BHP , the world's biggest miner, threw his weight behind CEO Andrew Mackenzie and said there was no truth in speculation the chief executive's term in office was soon to end.

Pressure has been building on BHP and Andrew Mackenzie since April, when activist investor Elliott Advisors first went public with its criticisms of the miner's strategy.

Elliott is still pressing for change, prompting speculation the CEO, who has been in office since 2013, might step down.

"Any suggestion there is a set timeline around Andrew's tenure is simply false and without merit," chairman Ken MacKenzie told reporters after his first AGM since taking office at the start of September.

Asked by a shareholder whether it was Elliott or the BHP board that was running the company, MacKenzie replied: "Mackenzie and Mackenzie" were running BHP.

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The chairman said he had met more than 100 shareholders across eight countries, which he said gave him confidence, but there were areas where the company needed to sharpen its focus to ensure value for shareholders.

He reiterated work was in progress to reshape the portfolio, especially regarding shale and further work would take place to refresh the board following two new appointments announced in August.

"We recognise that the Board needs to continue to evolve to take into account the rapidly changing environment in which we operate. So, we will undertake a review of the board skills and experience requirements during this financial year," he said.


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