Finance Finance News Rio Tinto names chief in wake of blast scandal

Rio Tinto names chief in wake of blast scandal

Rio Tinto's new chief executive Jakob Stausholm Photo; AAP
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Rio Tinto’s chief financial officer Jakob Stausholm will take over as chief executive after several company leaders resigned following the destruction of sacred Aboriginal caves in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto on Thursday said Mr Stausholm, who joined the company in 2018, will start in the role on January 1.

He will replace chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who resigned in September along with corporate relations chief Simone Niven and iron ore boss Chris Salisbury.

The company in May blew up the 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region to extract $188 million worth of high-grade iron ore.

A federal inquiry into the destruction has urged Rio to hold off on any new applications to destroy sites until WA’s heritage laws have been strengthened.

The Northern Australia Committee interim report also called upon Rio to agree on a restitution package with the traditional owners, rebuild the site at its own expense, and have a permanent moratorium on mining there.

Mr Stausholm said he remained committed to Rio’s purpose of producing materials after the difficult times of 2020.

“I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with traditional owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company,” he said.

Mr Stausholm was previously chief financial officer of Danish shipping company AP Moeller – Maersk.

Mr Jacques will officially leave the company on March 31.

Rio revealed the plans after trading closed on Thursday. Shares closed higher by 1.81 per cent to $116.44.