Rio Tinto appoints Australian CEO in executive shake up

Climate action

Rio Tinto has unveiled a new executive team, including a chief executive of Australia, chief executive of iron ore and chief operating officer, as it works to rebuild stakeholder trust in Australia.

Pacific Operations Aluminium managing director Kellie Parker has been appointed chief executive Australia and will focus on strengthening external relationships across the nation.

Rio Tinto has recruited internally for the other two new roles, with chief commercial officer Simon Trott becoming iron ore chief executive and copper and diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat stepping up to chief operating officer.

As chief operating officer, Soirat will drive company-wide improvements within Rio Tinto’s production system during an 18-month fixed term.

Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios will also switch roles, becoming chief commercial officer to drive added value from mine to market.

Rio Tinto will retain four product groups; aluminium, copper, iron ore and minerals, which will expand to include the diamonds business.

Current interim iron ore chief executive Ivan Vella will switch to aluminium chief executive, energy and minerals chief executive Bold Bataar transfers to copper chief executive and present managing director, operations, copper and diamonds Sinead Kaufman joins the executive team as minerals chief executive.

The product groups will continue to be supported by the safety, technical and projects group, overseen by Mark Davies and will include the recently established communities and social performance function.

Chief people office Vera Kirkova will leave the company with Egon Zehnder partner James Martin replacing her, effective April 6.

Remaining on board during these changes is group executive strategy and development, including climate change, Peter Toth, chief legal officer and external affairs Barbara Levi and interim chief financial officer Peter Cunningham, as the company continues the recruitment process to fill this role.

Recently appointed Rio Tinto chief executive officer Jakob Stausholm welcomed Parker, Kaufman and Martin and their fresh perspectives to the executive team.

“I want to re-establish Rio Tinto as a trusted partner for host communities, governments and other stakeholders,” Stausholm said.

“While Rio Tinto continues to deliver strong safety and operational performance, there are improvements we can achieve across the business to make Rio Tinto more resilient and an even stronger performer and employer.

“Now the work starts for (the) executive committee, with a full agenda ahead of us and a determination to become a strong team. I am confident that together we can unleash Rio Tinto’s full potential.”

The mining giant announced it would make major changes to its leadership team last year, following an external review that took place after the destruction at Juukan Gorge in May.

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