Controversy has emerged over King’s College London’s decision to give an honorary doctorate to Dr Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of the worlds largest mining company BHP Billiton.
Students from the Fossil Free Campaign which calls for King’s to divest from all fossil fuels describes this decision as a ‘slap in the face’.
A representative from Fossil Free KCL said “the decision to give the CEO of the worlds largest mining company a honorary doctorate runs counter to work being done to review the university’s fossil fuel investments via the college’s first investment review committee.”
Mckenzie described by King’s as ‘one of the worlds top business leaders’ became CEO of BHP Billiton in May 2013 and paid a salary of $4,019,000.
BHP Billiton has been mired with accusations of ‘aggressive evictions of indigenous populations in Colombia and reported in the Guardian as the 20th largest global carbon polluter.
A spokesperson from King’s said “King’s has awarded Dr Andrew Mackenzie an Honorary Degree in recognition for his work as a pre-eminent earth scientist and one of the world’s top business leaders.
He has risen to the highest levels of global business leadership through an unusual combination of commercial acumen, principled leadership and a continued fascination with science – traits which we share here at King’s.”
Honorary doctorates are confirmed by King’s highest decision making body after receiving recommendations from a committee which has no student representation.
King’s has previously garnered controversy with who it has given honorary doctorates to.
From the Sultan of Brunei for his country’s poor record on gay rights to former Israeli President Simon Peres for the Israeli states violations of international law.
Additional reporting by Fosca D’Incau