BHP Billiton to lose chairman Jac Nasser next year

The chairman of the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), has just announced he would not seek re-election at next year's annual general meeting (AGM).

Nasser had intended to announce his retirement last year but chose to stay on at the mining company to provide stability as BHP dealt with the aftermath of Samarco.

Australian Jac Nasser, who was appointed chairman in March 2010 and has been a board member since 2006, initially intended to announce his retirement last year. However, he chose to stay on while BHP dealt with the aftermath of the Samarco mine disaster in Brazil last year, which claimed 19 lives and caused widespread environmental damage, Financial Times reports (subs. required).

"Now that the basic structure of the Samarco response is in place, the findings of the expert panel have been published, the compensation and remediation programs have been initiated, and with BHP Billiton in robust shape, I have decided that I will not seek re-election at next year's AGM," he said on a webcast.

Nasser had a 33-year career with Ford, including a three-year stint as chief executive, and is also a director of 21st Century Fox and Koc Holding.

The company did not name a successor for the $1 million-a-year position, but Nasser said he would continue to lead the board in the interim.

BHP Billiton also officially announced Thursday a new target for half of its workforce to be women by 2025.

Currently, only 3 of the 12 directors at BHP’s board are women.