Kloppers offloads $5 million BHP stock. Don't worry it's just a tax thing

The CEO of BHP Billiton is getting rid of a huge chunk of his stock in the world's number one miner. Insider sales are never a good sign, but the disinvestment by South African-born chief executive Marius Kloppers appears to be just an ordinary reshuffle of his portfolio.

The Australian reports Kloppers sold $5.2 million worth of the company's shares, including 98,000 shares listed in Australia and about 60,000 shares listed on the London Stock Exchange this week.

Kloppers, who took up the helm of BHP in 2007, will reportedly use the proceeds from sale to pay off a tax obligation.

The 50-year-old boss also pocketed 300,000 BHP Billiton shares thanks to the company's employee share incentive scheme. That's worth a shade over $10 million at Friday's closing price in Australia of A$33.32.

In August Kloppers waived a bonus payout after the Melbourne-based company suffered a $3 billion hit to the value of its nickel and shale gas businesses.

Kloppers took home £9.8 million ($15.2 million) last year including bonuses, pension contributions and stock options.

Earlier this year Kloppers made Barron's list of the world's 30 best CEOs. Kloppers was the only mining CEO on the list and, together with Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil, one of only two representatives from the extractive industries.