BHP Billiton has announced a board shake up that will see Grant King depart just six months after his appointment “owing to concerns expressed by some investors”.

The company said Mr King had decided not to stand for election to the board and would retire from the role on August 31. The former chief executive of Origin Energy joined BHP’s board in February as an independent non-executive director. Investors had questioned Mr King’s record at Origin Energy after the company was forced to take writedowns on a liquefied natural gas project in Queensland.

Malcom Brinded has also decided not to stand for re-election as a non-executive director owing to legal proceedings in Italy linked to his previous work with Shell, BHP chairman Jac Nasser said.

Mr Nasser announced the appointment of Terry Bowen and John Mogford to the BHP board as independent non-executive directors, starting from 1 October.

The board shake-up comes after the company on Tuesday bowed to calls from activist investors to sell its US shale oil unit, saying it was “actively pursuing options” to exit the business. Elliott Advisors, the hedge fund, earlier this month disclosed that it had boosted its stake in the miner to 5 per cent to “hold it accountable for delivering results”.

Mr Bowen has held the role of finance directer at Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers for eight years. Mr Mogford has more than 40 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, including 33 years at BP, Mr Nasser said.

BHP shares were up 0.3 per cent at A$26.06 a share after climbing as much as 1.7 per cent in morning trading. The benchmark S&P/ASX was down 0.3 per cent.

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