Fortescue rates diversity as the key to success

Fortescue Metals Group's recent annual general meeting. Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue Metals Group is attributing its record-breaking financial year to the diversity of the company’s leadership.

In the 2019 financial year, Fortescue broke its record for processed tonnes, with 176.9 wet metric tonnes, underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $US6 billion ($8.7 billion) and underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) of $US3.2 billion.

The company also broke its annual safety records, with a total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) of 2.8, a 24 per cent improvement from June 2018.

Fortescue founder and chairperson Andrew Forrest said the outstanding results came from his team’s hard work and determination.

He also credited the result to the company’s diverse range of leaders, including 26 per cent of senior management roles being held by women.

“Fortescue is one of only 15 companies in the ASX200 with equal gender representation, and we are all proud our board remains a leader in industry and corporate Australia for its gender diversity,” Forrest said.

“As we build our global presence, we are also leading the way in ethnic diversity, with two Chinese representatives on the board of directors.”

Continuing to build its diversity closer to home, Fortescue supports Aboriginal leaders within its business, with its leadership excellence in Aboriginal people (LEAP) initiative.

“At Fortescue, we recognise that encouraging diversity is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said.

“We are focussed on building on our strong track record of Aboriginal training by supporting aspiring Aboriginal leaders in our business.

“The LEAP program has been a tremendous success, with 42 of our Aboriginal employees completing the program to date.

“Of this group, 50 per cent have been promoted and 30 per cent have become supervisors.”

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