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Ex-Ford boss named as the new chairman of BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton, the world&rsquo;s largest miner, yesterday said that ex-Ford chief executive Jac Nasser would be its new chairman.<br /><br />Nasser, who has been a non-executive director at BHP since 2006, will step into incumbent Don Argus&rsquo; shoes when he steps down next year after a decade at the helm.<br /><br />He beat off competition from John Schubert, the chairman at Australia&rsquo;s Commonwealth Bank, after the board decided to plump for an internal candidate. <br /><br />Nasser is also a director of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), and a partner at JPMorgan&rsquo;s private equity division One Equity Partners. He also sits on the international advisory board of Allianz.<br /><br />BHP senior independent director John Buchanan, who helped direct the search for a new boss, said: &ldquo;Jac Nasser will make an excellent successor to Don Argus as chairman.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>Jac Nasser<br />BHP Billiton</strong><br /><br />Jac &ldquo;the Knife&rdquo; Nasser &ndash; so-called for his enthusiasm for cost-cutting &ndash; will take over at BHP next year, making the company the third big miner to change its chairman this year. <br /><br />The English, Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese speaking 61-year-old was born in Lebanon to a bus driver father, Abdo Nasser. <br /><br />Abdo decided to move to Melbourne&nbsp; with his wife and children when Jac was three years old. <br /><br />After attending school and university in Melbourne, Nasser joined Ford as a business analyst, where he spent 33 years before becoming its chief executive in 1999. <br /><br />During his tenure, Ford became the world&rsquo;s most profitable car maker, making him one of the most high-profile Australian executives in the world. Nasser earned $12m (&pound;8m) a year in the role.<br /><br />He retired in 2001 after concerns within the Ford family about his management style, and was succeeded by William Clay Ford Jr.<br /><br />Nasser was known at the car maker for his abrupt, and sometimes abrasive, management style.<br /><br />But car experts have since said his strategies were ahead of his time, especially given the current turmoil within the industry, which Ford has weathered better than rivals like General Motors and Chrysler. <br /><br />After leaving Ford, Nasser became a senior partner in One Equity Partners, a subsidiary of Bank One.