BHP Billiton has named its successor to chief executive Marius Kloppers, who will step down in May.
Andrew Mackenzie, 56, joined BHP from Rio Tinto in 2008. Previously he spent 22 years at BP.
He speaks five languages, and has lived in six countries on four continents during his career.
The announcement came as BHP reported a fall in profit of 43% to $US4.24 billion, down from $US9.94 billion in the previous corresponding period.
AAP reports the result included $US1.4 billion in one-off costs from asset sales.
BHP has also shelved $US40 billion in projects, and shut coal mines to combat soaring costs, a strong Australian dollar and sliding commodity prices.