Rio Tinto has appointed former Western Australian Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt as a non-executive director.
With family links to the Pilbara and 15 years experience in state parliament, as well as a career as a barrister and solicitor, Wyatt was selected by Rio Tinto to improve its relations with Indigenous communities and key stakeholders.
Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said the company was delighted to welcome Wyatt to the board.
“Ben’s knowledge of public policy, finance, international trade and Indigenous affairs will significantly add to the depth of knowledge on the board at a time when we are seeking to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders in Australia and around the world,” Thompson said.
Wyatt’s ministerial portfolios included Treasury, Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs before announcing his retirement from politics ahead of the 2021 WA state election.
The Royal Military College Duntroon graduate said he was committed to improving Rio Tinto’s admittedly tarnished reputation, following the events at Juukan Gorge in 2020.
“I have deep respect for the resources sector in Australia and have long been impressed with the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by Rio Tinto,” Wyatt said.
“I was deeply saddened and disappointed by the events at Juukan Gorge, but I am convinced that Rio Tinto is committed to changing its approach to cultural heritage issues and restoring its reputation, particularly in Australia and Western Australia.
“I am looking forward to working with the Board in building on the momentum for change generated by the new leadership team.”
Wyatt will join Rio Tinto’s board in September and has also recently become a non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum.