The Rio Tinto CEO, Jean-Sebastian Jacques, and two other senior executives are leaving the global mining company after its board of directors succumbed to intense investor pressure to take strong action over its decision to blow up the 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Rio Tinto said Jack was leaving by “mutual agreement” with the board.
On Friday morning, the company said iron ore chief Chris Salisbury and company chief Simone Niven will also leave.
The move came after a week in which investors lined up Insufficient denunciation Previous board decision to cut short-term bonuses to executives in response to the scandal and sparked the chair of an Australian parliamentary committee looking into the case. Interests The company provided the investigation with misleading evidence.
Rio Tinto said that despite leaving the company, the three will continue to receive long-term bonuses.
The company blew up the rock shelters, which were of great interest to the area’s traditional indigenous owners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, in May, so it could extract high-quality iron ore, despite its known for years of its importance.
In response to protest from indigenous groups and investors, Rio Tinto’s board of directors conducted a review of the decision, which cut bonuses.
“While there is general recognition of the transparency of the board’s review and support for the recommended changes, important stakeholders have expressed concerns about executive accountability for the identified failures,” the company said.
James Fitzgerald said the Australian Center for Corporate Responsibility (ACR) has welcomed an end to the “disingenuous distress of the Rio Tinto Board of Directors and senior management”.
“Shareholder democracy and investor business are alive and well in Australia. Business leaders may think twice before trying to mislead investors, let alone a parliamentary inquiry, into the future.”
The National Board of Original Addresses welcomed Rio’s actions but said the company should make a “structural change” to make sure a disaster like Gooan never happened again.
“There is more work to be done,” said NNTC CEO Jimmy Lowe. “The law needs to be strengthened. We cannot count on the goodwill of the mining companies, we need to strengthen the law. We cannot count on their word that things will get better. “
The Australian Board of Superannuation Investors, which advises 38 mega funds on governance issues, welcomed the exit but said the process was “taken”.
“Rio Tinto now has the opportunity to address the necessary reforms, cultural heritage and risks with fresh eyes,” said ACSI CEO Louise Davidson.
“Rio Tinto should prioritize working with the traditional owners of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people to rebuild their relationship. It is vitally important that this not be delayed.”
In a move that realizes the board of directors lacks involvement in Australian issues, the company will also be promoted from a non-executive director to a senior independent director responsible for overseeing its listed Australian arm, Rio Tinto Limited.
Sam Laidlaw will continue as the Senior Independent Director in charge of the British half of the group, Rio Tinto PLC.
Davidson said ACSI is pleased to see the Rio Tinto board of directors realize that it needs to be more connected to Australia. This work will be in progress and should be a feature of future appointments to the Board of Directors.
“We will also look closely at the separation arrangements, with the expectation that any exit will not provide unexpected gains for executives as they leave.”
“What happened in Gooan was a mistake, and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of this exceptional archaeological and cultural importance does not happen again in the Rio Tinto process,” said Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson.
“We are also determined to restore the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama, Pinikura and other traditional owners.
“We have heard our stakeholders’ concerns that the lack of individual accountability undermines the group’s ability to rebuild that trust and move forward to implement the changes identified in the Board Review.”