Australian mining giant BHP on Thursday announced long-time employee Mike Henry will replace outgoing CEO Andrew Mackenzie when he steps down at the end of the year.

The world’s biggest miner said Henry was tapped to take over the top job from January 1, 2020 after a “thorough succession process”.

“Mike Henry’s deep operational and commercial experience, developed in a global career spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia, is the perfect mix for our next CEO,” Chairman Ken MacKenzie said in a statement.

“I am confident his discipline and focus will deliver a culture of high performance and returns for BHP.”

Henry joined the global resources company in 2003 and has led its Australia minerals operations since 2016.

The Canadian said he was “honoured and privileged” to be appointed to the position, pledging to “unlock even greater value from our ore bodies and petroleum basins”.

Mackenzie, who is retiring after seven years at the helm of BHP, said it had not been an easy decision to step down but he was confident his successor would seize future opportunities.

“Fresh leadership will deliver an acceleration in the enormous potential for value and returns that will come from BHP’s next wave of transformation,” he said.

BHP more than doubled its annual net profit in the year to June 30, posting a US$8.3 billion profit on the back of higher iron ore prices and a rebound from significant setbacks the previous year.

Heavy impairment charges related to the sale of its US shale assets and costs associated with the deadly collapse of an iron ore tailings dam in Brazil in 2015 dented its results the previous financial year.