Follow the leaders: Appointments at Rio Tinto, South32 and more


Stay on top of the latest executive appointments across the mining sector over the past week, including at Rio Tinto, Engineers Australia, South32 and others.

Rio Tinto has introduced a new role to its executive committee, a group executive for strategy and development, which will be filled by Peter Toth.

Toth has been part of Rio Tinto since 2014, joining as global head of strategy before becoming head of corporate development in 2015.

He has more than 25 years’ experience in the resources industry, including a 14-year stint with BHP.

Rio Tinto will also welcome a new group executive for safety, technical and projects, Mark Davies, after group executive of growth & innovation and health, safety & environment Stephen McIntosh announced his retirement.

Davies has more than 25 years’ experience with Rio Tinto, in roles including vice president for global procurement, head of group risk, interim chief executive officer for the iron and titanium business and chief commercial officer.

McIntosh departs on September 30 after 30 years plus with Rio Tinto, with both Toth and Davies assuming their roles officially on October 1.


Engineers Australia has appointed Jane MacMaster in the newly-created role of chief engineer, to lead the organisation’s engagement and policy discussions with industry, government and other stakeholders.

MacMaster has a wealth of experience in engineering, both in Australia and internationally.

She has worked in senior systems and design engineer roles for BAE Systems and in various space and defence programs, including a supersonic ship self-defence project for the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

MacMaster has also worked as a senior strategy advisor to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and most recently, was the founder and director of Ponder Enterprises.

She will begin her new role of chief engineer on July 15.


South32 has welcomed a new chief operating officer, Jason Economidis, who will join existing joint chief operating officer Mike Fraser in the role.

He takes over from Paul Harvey, who joined the South32 leadership team in 2015 and leaves to pursue other opportunities.

Economidis will be responsible for Australia Manganese, Cannington Illawarra Metallurgical Coal and Worsley Alumina while Fraser will continue to take care of Cerro Matoso, Hillside Aluminium, South Africa Energy Coal and South Africa Manganese.

Prior to joining South32, Economidis was vice president of Illawara Metallurgical Coal and has more than 25 years’ experience in mining with companies including BHP, Peabody, Orica and Vale.


George Lippiatt has been named chief financial officer and group executive strategy of Aurizon, having been acting in the role since this March.

He has been part of the company’s leadership team since 2013 with his most recent role being head of strategy and corporate development.

Lippiatt successfully led the refinancing of Aurizon’s bank facilities, increasing the facility size by $420 million, to $1.3 billion.

Beyond this, Lippiatt has 15 years experience in corporate finance, gaining infrastructure and finance experience at companies including KPMG and Suncorp Bank.


Decmil has started its board transition process, with executive director Scott Criddle stepping down from his role, effective immediately.

Criddle will remain as an executive until July 31, to ensure a smooth handover process of his operational responsibilities.

His resignation is the first move in a planned restructure of the company’s executive team, as outlined in its prospectus.

Further updates, including new directors being appointed will be announced in coming months.

Decmil chairperson David Saxelby thanked Criddle for his long service and significant contribution to the company.

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