In a brief and low profile announcement, BHP Billiton (NYX:BHP) said last week that it was replacing its Aluminum President, Jon Dudas, giving no reason for his sudden departure, nor a timeframe for his replacement.
But BusinessDay’s Sydney Morning Herald reports that Dudas was forced from his position over issues relating to health and safety standards.
“The last time BHP Billiton shifted a senior executive out of one of its smaller divisions the news was followed within two days with a plan to divest that entire division,” says the newspaper.
BHP informed that Dudas spent the last four years in various roles and that vice president David Richardson will assume the role of acting president immediately.
Aluminum has been one of BHP's unhealthiest divisions in terms of performance, and has been hit hard globally due to oversupply and the drop in Chinese products prices.
Recently Rio Tinto (NYX:RIO) announced it would close its Lynemouth aluminum smelter in Northumberland, England on March 29 as part of its aluminum restructure plan.
Analysts will be paying close attention to BHP, as the company may follow Rio in divesting its assets so soon after it left the titanium industry by selling its stake in Richards Bay Minerals to Rio Tinto earlier this year.