Rio appoints new iron ore head

Rio Tinto has appointed Andrew Harding as the new head of iron ore as former chief Sam Walsh steps into the CEO position.

It comes after former CEO Tom Albanese's sudden departure from Rio Tinto ahead of poor forecasts for the miner.

The anger over the miner's loss also saw Rio's energy chief Doug Ritchie's head roll.

As Harding moves into Walsh's vacated role from his former position as the copper chief, he is replaced by Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

This is not Harding's first foray into iron ore.

He previously spent several years as a manager of mine operations within the iron ore division.

Walsh said “these two appointments strengthen our senior management team and are in line with our strategy of developing the next generation of talented Rio Tinto leaders".

“Andrew’s experience across a range of Rio Tinto businesses and countries and his three years on the Executive Committee mean he is ideally placed to run the highest-earning business in the Group.

"He has done an excellent job leading the Copper product group including taking Oyu Tolgoi from the drawing board to an operational mine on the verge of commercial production. He began his Rio Tinto career in our Iron Ore business in the Pilbara when it was a smaller operation and now he is ready to take it to the next stage by expanding capacity by more than half in just over two years. 

Walsh went on to state that “Jean-Sebastien has been with Rio Tinto for just over a year and has made a real impact and injected some fresh thinking into the Copper business. He has extensive experience in the steel and aluminium industries and has recently been leading work in Mongolia, as well as being responsible for mines and projects from Australia to South Africa. He will be an excellent addition to our executive team”.

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