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Curtin awards honorary doctorate to resources CEO

Media release

BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Curtin University, in recognition of his contribution to the field of geochemistry and for strategic leadership in the resources industry.

Curtin University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said Dr Mackenzie is a highly-regarded scientist and leader, who has over 30 years’ experience in oil and gas, minerals and mining.

“Andrew brings an exceptional research background to his role as CEO of BHP Billiton, and has been able to translate his depth of discipline knowledge into effective and strategic leadership. This is a rare combination of talents,” Professor Terry said.

“He made seminal contributions to geochemistry in his early career, especially in relation to the formation of oil, and many scientists including Curtin researchers, have utilised his PhD findings in their own research endeavours.”

Dr Mackenzie grew up in Scotland and was educated at the University of St Andrews where he graduated with a first class Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. He went on to study at the University of Bristol where he was awarded a PhD in Organic Chemistry.

His PhD led to a paradigm shift in the understanding of the origin of petroleum in the subsurface.

In 2002, he was awarded the Aberconway Medal from The Geological Society, for his extraordinary and long lasting contributions to the understanding of petroleum generation, migration and entrapment.

He moved from academia in 1983 to join BP’s research division. After 22 years he left as BP’s Group Vice President Petrochemicals and joined Rio Tinto as Chief Executive of Industrial Minerals Division in 2004. He joined BHP Billiton in 2008 and became the Chief Executive Officer in 2013.

“Dr Mackenzie also founded the BP Institute at Cambridge University, an institute revered as an inspiration for how academia and industry can interact,” Professor Terry added.

In May 2014 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

Dr Mackenzie received his Honorary Doctorate of Science at a ceremony for the Faculty of Science and Engineering graduates at Curtin’s Bentley Campus.