Rio Tinto will increase its focus on operational excellence and project development, strengthening the company’s ESG credentials, and rebuilding trust, particularly in Australia, under a new organisational structure. This approach will be underpinned by the safe operation of our world-class assets, continued disciplined capital allocation, and a strong balance sheet.

To achieve these goals, Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm has appointed a permanent Chief Executive of Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore business, created a Chief Operating Officer (COO) role, and added a Chief Executive Australia to his leadership team. Simon Trott, currently Chief Commercial Officer, will become Iron Ore Chief Executive; Copper & Diamonds Chief Executive Arnaud Soirat will become Group COO; and Kellie Parker, now Managing Director Pacific Operations Aluminium, will join the Executive Committee (ExCo) as Chief Executive Australia.

Jakob Stausholm said: “While Rio Tinto continues to deliver strong safety and operational performance, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, there are improvements we can achieve across the business to make Rio Tinto more resilient, and an even stronger performer and employer. I want to re-establish Rio Tinto as a trusted partner for host communities, governments and other stakeholders.

“Now the work starts for ExCo, with a full agenda ahead of us and a determination to become a strong team. I am confident that together we can unleash Rio Tinto’s full potential.”

Rio Tinto will retain four product groups – Aluminium, Copper, Iron Ore, and Minerals, which will now also include the Diamonds business. In addition to Simon Trott’s appointment, Ivan Vella, currently Interim Iron Ore Chief Executive, will become Aluminium Chief Executive; Energy & Minerals Chief Executive Bold Baatar will become Copper Chief Executive; and Sinead Kaufman, currently Managing Director Operations Copper & Diamonds, will join ExCo as Minerals Chief Executive.

As COO, Arnaud Soirat will use his extensive operational experience to drive company-wide improvements in the Rio Tinto production system during a fixed 18-month term.

The product groups will continue to be supported by the Safety, Technical and Projects Group, run by Mark Davies, which includes the recently established Communities & Social Performance function.

In her role as Chief Executive Australia, Kellie Parker will focus on rebuilding trust and strengthening external relationships across Australia.

Aluminium Chief Executive Alf Barrios (pictured) will become Chief Commercial Officer, leading the drive to deliver additional value from mine to market.

Vera Kirikova, Chief People Officer, has decided to leave the company. James Martin, currently a partner at Egon Zehnder, will join Rio Tinto as Chief People Officer with effect from 6 April 2021. James has a strong track record of supporting businesses in leadership development, cultural change and team effectiveness, having worked with clients across multiple sectors.

Peter Toth remains as Group Executive, Strategy and Development, including climate change; Barbara Levi remains as Chief Legal Officer & External Affairs; and Peter Cunningham continues as Interim Chief Financial Officer until the recruitment process for a permanent appointment is finalised.

Jakob Stausholm said: “I would like to welcome Kellie, Sinead and James to the executive team. They will bring a new perspective along with strong track records. I would also like to thank Vera for her contribution to Rio Tinto over a number of years.”

The new leadership team, effective by 1 March, is:
Jakob Stausholm, Chief Executive
Bold Baatar, Chief Executive Rio Tinto Copper
Alf Barrios, Chief Commercial Officer
Peter Cunningham, Interim Chief Financial Officer
Mark Davies, Group Executive, Safety, Technical and Projects
Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive Rio Tinto Minerals
Barbara Levi, Chief Legal Officer & External Affairs
James Martin, Chief People Officer (joins 6 April)
Kellie Parker, Chief Executive Australia
Arnaud Soirat, Chief Operating Officer
Peter Toth, Group Executive, Strategy and Development
Simon Trott, Chief Executive Rio Tinto Iron Ore
Ivan Vella, Chief Executive Rio Tinto Aluminium