BHP names Cutt to succeed Yeager as petroleum unit president

By Elisabeth Behrmann and James Paton
Bloomberg News

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, named diamond unit president Tim Cutt to succeed the retiring Michael Yeager as head of its petroleum division as part of a senior management shakeup.

Yeager, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, will retire on July 1, Melbourne-based BHP said today in a statement. Alberto Calderon will be replaced as aluminum President by Daniel Malchuk, though will remain as an advisor to incoming Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie, who will succeed Marius Kloppers as CEO on May 10.

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Yeager, who led BHP’s $20 billion move into the U.S. shale gas industry, joined the petroleum unit in 2006 after 25 years with Exxon Mobil Corp., according to BHP’s website. Before becoming the top oil executive, Yeager was vice president of Exxon Mobil Development Co. where he was responsible for 22 projects worldwide.

“The removal of a layer of management brings the operations closer to the CEO and ensures alignment between strategic and managerial leadership,” Mackenzie said in the statement.

Before becoming diamond unit president in 2011, Cutt led the company’s petroleum production activities after joining from Exxon Mobil in 2007.