Kloppers to walk out of BHP with $75 million in his pocket

On May 10 Marius Kloppers will work his last day at the helm of BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP)(LON: BHP)(NYSE: BHP) making it one of the most commented on moves in recent mining history.

For some, such as BHP Chairman Jac Nasser, the departing executive helped BHP to become "one of the most valuable companies in the world, and that isn't an opinion, it's there in the results,” he said at the announcement of Kloppers' departure in Sydney.

But Kloppers is not leaving empty-handed. He is taking with him cash, shares and performance rights worth up to $75.2 million at current prices, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

If his exit package is paid it will become one of the highest recorded in Australia, putting Kloppers in the league of Macquarie Bank’s former CEO Allan Moss who reportedly received an $80 million package.

Subject to various performance criteria, Kloppers will be eligible for a bonus under BHP's short-term and long-term incentive plans.

Reportedly, he will be paid in cash and shares, worth up to 3.2 times his base salary of $2.215 million, or a maximum of $6.9 million, as well as zero-exercise-price options to 917,324 BHP shares if the company outperforms a group of its corporate peers by 5.5% a year for the next five years.

Assuming BHP meets the performance targets, Kloppers will receive the shares progressively from August 2014 to August 2017.

During his 10 years at the company Kloppers has accumulated almost a million BHP shares.

At the most recent directors’ interest disclosure in December 2012, Kloppers held 628,982 shares in the BHP London-listed company, worth $20.3 million, and another 373,535 shares in the ASX-listed entity, worth $13.9 million, SMH reported.

South African-born Kloppers, trained as a chemical engineer, is a 20-year veteran of the company with nearly six years at the helm of BHP.

He had a reputation of being something of a disciplinarian, laying down strict rules for office conduct and strengthening internal controls at the far-flung company.

He was also a primary architect of the sea change that occurred in the iron ore trade at the end of 2007 when the benchmark annual contract system was transformed.

In the decades before iron ore never strayed far from $20 a tonne – today the commodity accounts for the bulk of the profits at the top global miners.

Kloppers will remain an employee of the mining giant until October.

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