The head of BHP Billiton, Marius Kloppers has announced he will retire from the company.
The annoucement came this morning following the release of the miner's half year results.
He will be replaced by Andrew MacKenzie, the company's current head of non-ferrous metals.
Kloppers will officially step down on May 10.
In a statement this morning, BHP chairman Jac Nasser said Kloppers "leaves BHP Billiton a safer and stronger company".
Regarding MacKenzie's appointment, Nasser stated that "in succeeding Marius, Andrew brings a unique combination of deep industry knowledge and global management experience to the CEO role".
"Our succession planning has served the company well for over a decade; today's announcement is a result of that planned and considered process.
"The board has decided Andrew is the right person to lead BHP Billiton in a changing global environment."
Kloppers admitted the decision to retire completely from the company has been a difficult one, "however after almost twenty years with BHP, twelve as a senior executive and nearly six as a CEO, I believe now is the right time to pass the leardership baton".
The BHP Billiton CEO has reportedly been under the axe for some time, with rumours of his potential replacement surfacing in November last year during the company's 'succession planning'.
Kloppers has led the company through two of the worst downturns the Australian mining industry has ever seen, as well as the largest boom it has ever gone through.
However he has faced criticism for the company's handling of FIFO issues in Queensland, the ongoing union battles, its shale gas mis-steps, and the failed merger with Rio Tinto's iron ore operations in the Pilbara.
This announcement comes only a month after fellow global miner, Rio Tinto, announced the depature of its CEO Tom Albanese.
There have been mixed reactions to Kloppers' resignation as is shown in the below excerpt from the Australian Mining Facebook page.
CFMEU's Queensland president Stephen Smyth rejoiced at the news, saying: "Great result. He should have lost his job due to inability to manage the company. They will simply replace him with another right wing corprate thug! The union & its members still hear!"