BHP's CEO-elect says M&A not excluded, but not core

LONDON Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:04pm GMT

A woman gestures in front of a BHP Billiton sign during a half-year results briefing in Sydney in this February 16, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

A woman gestures in front of a BHP Billiton sign during a half-year results briefing in Sydney in this February 16, 2011 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Wimborne

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LONDON (Reuters) - The incoming boss of BHP Billiton (BHP.AX), Andrew Mackenzie, said on Wednesday the world's largest miner would not exclude deals under his stewardship, though its strategy would remain focused on current assets.

Mackenzie is the latest of a new generation of bosses taking the helm at the world's biggest mining groups, at a time when incoming executives are preaching austerity, in contrast to the big-ticket acquisitions that bruised their predecessors.

"You would be wrong to say that M&A is completely excluded, but it is not central to the strategy that I am shaping up," he told reporters. "It is about running what we have extremely well."

Mackenzie was BHP's point man in Canada, along with BHP's now chief financial officer, Graham Kerr, on BHP's failed $39 billion bid for Potash Corp (POT.TO).

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques)

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