Simon Thompson, a former Anglo American executive director with over 20 years of experience, is to replace Jan du Plessis as Rio Tinto chairman in March 2018.
Du Plessis, a British-South African, has served as the company’s chairman for almost nine years and recently anointed chairman of British Telecom, expressed support for his successor in a statement released today, claiming he was “handing over the baton” at a good time for Rio Tinto.
“I am really pleased to be succeeded by Simon, especially given how closely we have worked together since he joined the board some three years ago,” Du Plessis said.
When Thompson takes up the role next March, he will stand down as chairman of Rio Tinto’s remuneration committee and also leave the audit committee. Thompson, a Briton, has held several high-ranking industry positions during his career, including the above-mentioned Anglo American executive director position, non-executive director and chairman of Tullow Oil, and non-executive director of Newmont (2008–2014), AMEC Foster Wheeler (2009–2014) and Sandvik (2008–2015).
The incoming chairman said that he was honoured to accept the role.
“Rio Tinto is in great shape, with a strong management team, world-class assets and a successful strategy,” Thompson explained. “I look forward to leading the board as we work with J-S and his team to ensure that Rio Tinto continues to deliver superior returns for its shareholders.”