Jacques to Succeed Walsh as Rio Tinto Chief Executive
Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh will retire in July and will be succeeded by Copper and Coal chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques. To ensure a smooth transition, Jacques reportedly will join the board and become deputy chief executive effective immediately.
During more than three years on Rio Tinto’s executive committee, Jacques has reportedly brought greater focus to the copper and the coal businesses. He has delivered 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 U.S. in a wide range of positions in the aluminum, bauxite and steel industries.
“Jean-Sébastien is a very experienced executive with a demonstrated track record and brings a unique blend of strategic and operational expertise,” said Jan du Plessis, chairman. “He has run complex operations and projects across five commodities and five continents. J-S is a highly-regarded leader who shares Rio Tinto’s strong values and has embraced its culture. Today’s announcement is the culmination of a comprehensive and deliberate executive succession process. The board has decided that J-S is the right person to lead Rio Tinto in an increasingly complex world filled with both challenges and opportunities for our industry.”
“I have been seriously fortunate to lead one of the world’s best companies,” said Walsh. “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. I am very proud to have played my part, together with all of our employees around the world, in returning Rio Tinto to a position of industry leadership and strength. I have always wanted to make a difference and I believe we have achieved that. I look forward to working with J-S, the board and executive team during the transition.”
Chris Salisbury has been appointed as 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.
For more information, visit www.riotinto.com.