Rio executive heads roll after Simandou scandal

Alan Davies. Image: Bloomberg

Rio Tinto has axed energy and minerals chief executive Alan Davies and legal and regulatory affairs group executive Debra Valentine following the Africa payments scandal.

Davies was suspended and Valentine stepped down from her role after emails surfaced detailing a $AU13.8 million payment to a consultant who allegedly provided political advisory services to Rio for the Simandou project in the west African country of Guinea.

Rio’s board terminated their contracts after conducting an internal investigation.

“The board concluded that the executives failed to maintain the standards expected of them under our global code of conduct, The way we work” the company said in a statement.

Rio also contacted authorities in Australia, the UK, and the US about the incident and “intends to fully cooperate with any subsequent inquiries”.

As part of the termination, the executives will not be eligible for short term incentive plan awards for 2016 and will not receive unvested incentive plan awards from previous years.

Davies will be replaced by Bold Baatar, the company’s managing director of marine and vice president of iron ore sales and marketing.

Bataar held a number of senior investment banking roles before he joined Rio in 2013 as copper international operations president.

Rio chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said Bataar will “add a fresh perspective” to the company.

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