Rio Tinto has appointed the man who established the company’s first office in China 25 years ago, Ian Bauert, as managing director of its entire Chinese operations.
Bauert will be based in Shanghai and will be responsible for the mining giant’s 160 employees across Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
According to the company, he has held several senior positions during his career and speaks fluent Mandarin.
Most recently, Bauert was the miner’s managing director of iron ore sales and marketing.
According to Rio chief executive Tom Albanese, the appointment underlines how important the relationship with China is to the company.
“Ian’s experience and leadership will provide strategic direction and help guide all aspects of our engagement with China, one of our most important partners,” he said.
Bauert will report to Doug Ritchie, who last year took over responsibility for the company’s Chinese activities after Stern Hu was detained for alleged corporate espionage.
“This appointment recognises the importance of China as a long term partner with our organisation and our intention to foster new and dynamic relationships as China’s development continues,” he said.