Rio Tinto CEO to Step Down After Destroying 46,000-year-old Australian Indigenous Site

Friday 11 September 2020, 11:52 PM AEST - 1 week ago

Following the destruction of the Australian indigenous site against the landowners wishes, Rio Tinto investors seek candidates to replace CEO Jacques.

Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO) CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques has resigned following investors revolt over the destruction of a 46,000-year-old indigenous site in Australia. The company said that Jacques will depart at the end of March 2021 or once a successor is chosen.

Rio Tinto CEO Resigns

In May, the worlds largest metals and mining corporation, Rio Tinto, destroyed the indigenous site in the Pilbara Desert of Western Australia. This action was against the wishes of the traditional landowners – the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.

Now, CEO Jacques will step down from his position due to pressure from investors. According to the shareholders and analysts, the company may replace Jacques with an outsider. Macquarie analyst Hayden Bairstow said:

Clearly from the comments of the chairman they want to reset the culture, which would imply an external candidate would be more likely than an internal one.

According to a Reuters report, the company hopes to repair its community relations with the new appointment. Adding that Jacques neglected operations and the copper business, two fund managers revealed that Rio Tinto will appoint a CEO who will focus on those areas.

Emphasizing on the neglected roles, an investment banker pleading anonymity said:

Rio was the benchmark for operations, but in the last 18 months theyve lost that title.

In June, Rio Tinto apologized for the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves, to expand its Australian iron ore mine. The companys chairman Simon Thompson commented on the destruction of the Huukan caves which contained articrafts. After describing the action as wrong, he assured that such will not re-occur:

We are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio operation.

Apart from Jacques, some other executives of the mining company are also stepping down. Chris Salisbury, head of the iron ore business will retire from his position immediately and leave the ...

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