Rio Tinto CEO and senior executives resign from company following Juukan Gorge debacle | Enterprise


The Rio Tinto chief government, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, and two other senior executives are leaving the global miner following its board bowed to intense investor strain for robust motion more than its final decision to blow up 46,000-12 months-aged rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia’s Pilbara area.

Rio Tinto mentioned Jacques was leaving “by mutual agreement” with the board.

The iron ore head, Chris Salisbury, and the company affairs manager, Simone Niven, will also depart, the company mentioned on Friday morning.

The move came following a week in which investors queued up to denounce as insufficient the board’s past final decision to lower the executives’ short-phrase bonuses in reaction to the scandal and the head of an Australian parliamentary committee seeking into the affair lifted concerns that the company experienced provided the inquiry misleading evidence.

Inspite of leaving the company all 3 would go on to be entitled to very long-phrase bonuses, Rio Tinto mentioned.

The company blew up the rock shelters, which were being very considerable to the area’s Aboriginal common entrepreneurs, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura individuals, in May well, so that it could mine much better high quality iron ore, regardless of understanding for many years of their value.

In reaction to an outcry from Indigenous teams and investors, Rio Tinto’s board performed a evaluation of the final decision, which led to the reduction in bonuses.

“While there is basic recognition of the transparency of the board evaluation and aid for the modifications recommended, considerable stakeholders have expressed concerns about government accountability for the failings recognized,” the company mentioned.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility welcomed an close to the “dishonest malaise of Rio Tinto’s board and senior management”, James Fitzgerald mentioned.

“Shareholder democracy and investor motion is alive and very well in Australia. Corporate captains could believe 2 times before attempting to mislead investors, not to mention a parliamentary inquiry, in long run.”

The National Native Title Council welcomed Rio’s actions but mentioned the company need to make “structural change” to make certain a catastrophe like Juukan did not occur yet again.

“There is extra get the job done to be carried out,” mentioned the NNTC’s chief government, Jamie Lowe. “The legislation desires to be strengthened. We cannot count on the goodwill of mining corporations, we need the legislation strengthened. We cannot count on their word that items will get much better.”

The Australian Council of Superannuation Traders, which advises 38 significant super cash on governance problems, welcomed the departures but mentioned the approach experienced been “drawn out”.

“Rio Tinto now has the opportunity to handle the required remediation, cultural heritage and possibility processes with clean eyes,” mentioned ACSI’s chief government, Louise Davidson.

“Rio Tinto need to prioritise working with common entrepreneurs the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura individuals to rebuild their relationship. It is critical that this is not delayed.”

In a move that recognised that the board has lacked engagement with Australian problems, the company will also endorse from non-government director to senior impartial director the government dependable for oversight of its Australian-mentioned arm, Rio Tinto Confined.

Sam Laidlaw will go on as senior impartial director dependable for the British fifty percent of the group, Rio Tinto plc.

Davidson mentioned ACSI was pleased to see Rio Tinto’s board recognise it required to be extra connected to Australia. “This get the job done will be ongoing and need to be a aspect of long run appointments to the board.

“We will also be seeking carefully at the separation preparations, with the expectation that any exit will not give a windfall for executives on their departure.”

Rio Tinto’s chairman, Simon Thompson, mentioned: “What transpired at Juukan was improper and we are determined to be certain that the destruction of a heritage internet site of this sort of excellent archaeological and cultural importance never ever happens yet again at a Rio Tinto procedure.

“We are also determined to regain the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura individuals and other common entrepreneurs.

“We have listened to our stakeholders’ concerns that a lack of unique accountability undermines the group’s potential to rebuild that trust and to move ahead to implement the modifications recognized in the board evaluation.”

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