Rio Tinto confirms retirement of chairman du Plessis

Rio's outgoing chairman Jan du Plessis

Rio Tinto has officially announced that Jan du Plessis will retire as chairman.

As reported by Australian Mining yesterday, du Plessis was expected to step down from his role at Rio Tinto to take up the position of chairman with BT Group.

His retirement will occur after the completion of “an orderly succession process”, Rio Tinto said, adding that a successor was expected to be announced before the end of 2017.

du Plessis will retire no later than Rio Tinto’s 2018 annual general meeting in Australia.

The company said planning for a new chairman started in June 2016 following the appointment of Jean-Sébastien (J-S) Jacques as chief executive officer.

du Plessis said when Rio Tinto appointed Jacques a year ago he committed to serve as chairman for another two years, as part of a planned leadership transition.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in that plan. I remain committed to leading the board until I stand down, supporting the management team and ensuring an orderly handover to my successor,” du Plessis said.

“It has been a great privilege to chair Rio Tinto over the past eight years, during which time I have worked with some outstanding people across the business.

“The company has withstood the challenges of a cyclical industry and performed well. We have a robust balance sheet and a strong management team, led by an impressive chief executive in J-S Jacques.”

BT Group announced yesterday that du Plessis will join their board as a non-executive director in June this year, before becoming chairman in November.