Rio Tinto appoints Jacques successor as CEO

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm.

Rio Tinto chief financial officer and executive director Jakob Stausholm will replace Jean-Sébastien Jacques as chief executive starting January.

Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said Stausholm had strong values and a blend of leadership skills, strategic and commercial expertise that were ideal qualities for the company’s next leader.

Stausholm joined Rio Tinto in 2018, and since then has played a leading role in the company’s strong performance, maintaining financial discipline and delivering shareholder returns while strengthening the balance sheet.

He is an experienced global executive of 25 years, with leadership roles including group financial officer and strategy and transformation officer of logistics company A.P. Moeller.

Previously, he was group chief financial officer of facility services provider International Service System (ISS), and prior to this spent two decades with Royal Dutch Shell in various financial roles.

He has also served as non-executive director of Statoil ASA (now Equinor), including a six-year stint as chairman of the audit committee and non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum.

Stausholm said he was “truly delighted and humbled” to be given the opportunity to lead Rio Tinto and is ready to take on the important task ahead of restoring trust with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama Pinikura (PKKP) Traditional Owners.

“Rio Tinto’s purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress and I remain deeply committed to this after the difficult times we have faced during 2020,” Stausholm said.

“I look forward to leading Rio Tinto and working with my colleagues across the business to ensure we maintain strong safety, operational and financial performance, while progressing our growth, sustainability and technology strategies.

“I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company.”

Former Rio Tinto group controller Peter Cunningham will step into Stausholm’s role as interim chief financial officer of the company.

Cunningham has built a 27-year career with Rio Tinto, having held a number of senior finance and leadership roles.

With Stausholm’s appointment, Jacques will step down from his role as executive director and chief executive of Rio Tinto in January and leave the group in March.

Acknowledging Jacques’ leadership of the company since 2016, Rio Tinto’s Thompson said he was leaving the group in an exceptionally strong financial position and outstanding safety performance.

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