South Africa/Australia/UK – BHP Billiton today announced the appointments of Frank Cooper, Peter Kukielski, Ntombifuthi (Futhi) Mtoba and Wayne Osborn to the board of directors of its South32 spinoff.
The newly appointed non-executive directors will join chairman elect David Crawford and the three previously announced Board members, CEO elect and executive director Graham Kerr, independent non-executive director Keith Rumble and non-executive director Xolani Mkhwanazi.
The initial composition of the South32 board will reflect a range of geographical backgrounds including Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Crawford says: “The addition of these four individuals to the future South32 board further enhances the extensive mining, exploration, commercial and financial experience of our board. The appointments bring broad international business experience across multiple industries with a particular focus on finance, processing and mining.”
The BHP Billiton board on March 17, 2015 recommended shareholders approve the proposed demerger of South32 at the shareholder meetings to be held on May 6, 2015. If shareholder approval is received, the director appointments for South32 will take effect from May 7, 2015.
Cooper, currently based in Australia, has more than 35 years’ experience in the accounting profession, specialising in the mining, energy and utilities sector, including most recently as a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Cooper has also served as a director for Woodside Petroleum Limited since February 2013.
UK-based Kukielski was Executive-in-Residence at Warburg Pincus following a long career in the mining industry establishing an exceptionally broad commodity understanding, most recently as Chief Executive Mining at ArcelorMittal.
His mining career included executive positions at Teck Cominco, Falconbridge Limited (now Glencore Canada Corporation), Noranda, and Rio Algom (now BHP Billiton).
Matoba, who is a South Africa-based qualified chartered accountant and Doctor of commerce, was chairman of the board at Deloitte Southern Africa, specialising in financial services.
Dr Mtoba is a past president of Business Unity South Africa and a past member of the Board of United Global Compact.
Her numerous awards include Business Woman of the Year (Nedbank and Business Women’s Association, 2004) and International Woman of the Year (Organisation of Women in International Trade, 2005).
Australia-based Osborn is currently a director of Wesfarmers, Iluka Resources and Alinta Holdings and has 35 years of experience in the Australian mining, resources and manufacturing sectors.
Osborn joined Alcoa in 1979 and worked in a variety of roles and locations across the Australian business, prior to being appointed Managing Director, Alcoa of Australia in 2001.
Considering the declining commodity markets, South32, the independently-listed global metals and mining company, would be used as a means for BHP to shed its smaller aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets so it can focus on its four core commodities, namely its exceptionally large, long-life iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum and potash developments.
This will enable BHP to retain full exposure to the early, middle and late stages of the economic development cycle.
The name South32 was chosen to reflect where the majority of South32’s selected assets are located – in the southern hemispheric countries of Australia and South Africa.