Rio Tinto has announced that its Chief Executive Sam Walsh will retire from the business on 1 July 2016 and will be succeeded by Jean-Sébastien Jacques. To ensure a smooth transition, the company stated that Jacques will join the board and become Deputy Chief Executive with immediate effect.
Rio Tinto added that during more than three years on the company’s executive committee, Jacques has brought greater focus to the copper and the coal businesses, delivering a step-change in both safety and cash performance while significantly reducing costs. Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Jacques worked for more than 15 years across Europe, Southeast Asia, India and the United States in a wide range of operational and functional positions in the aluminium, bauxite and steel industries. He served as group strategy director for Tata Steel Group from 2007 to 2011.
“Rio Tinto is a world-class company with some of the best tier one assets and people in the industry. It is an honour and a great privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the company as we continue to develop the business and pursue the delivery of value for shareholders,” stated Jean-Sébastien Jacques.
On 1 July 2016, Sam Walsh will also retire as a Director after almost seven years on the Rio Tinto board. “The board appointed Sam as Chief Executive at a challenging time for our company and I am very grateful for his tremendous leadership during the past three years. Against the backdrop of a volatile economic environment, Sam and his team have transformed the business, removing more than $6 billion of costs, strengthening the balance sheet and returning more than $13 billion to shareholders. Sam leaves Rio Tinto as a much stronger company, with a bright future,” stated Jan du Plessis, Rio Tinto Chairman.
“I have been seriously fortunate to lead one of the world’s best companies. After 25 great and enjoyable years with Rio Tinto, now is the right time to pass the reins on to Jean-Sébastien. In his time at Rio Tinto, J-S has proven to be a standout performer as a leader in our business,” added Sam Walsh.
Chris Salisbury has been appointed acting Chief Executive of the Copper and Coal product group and will attend the Rio Tinto Executive Committee in this capacity. The rest of the executive team remains unchanged.