Rio Tinto rises in protest against cave blast

Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson will resign later next year in response to investor disagreements over the destruction of a 46,000-year-old sacred indigenous site in Western Australia by a mining company last year. is.

British Australian miners said Wednesday that British Thompson would not seek re-election at the company’s annual meeting scheduled for April and May 2022 and would begin a search for a successor.

The decision to set Thompson aside followed a storm of criticism of the board. First decision Do not dismiss the person responsible for blasting two ancient rock shelters in the Jukan Gorge in May 2020. Global backlash Against Rio.

Due to pressure from Australian pension funds and other investors Resign Former Rio CEO Jean Sebastian Jack and two other senior executives joined in September last year.

But last month’s Rio disclosure that Jack was awarded 20 percent Wage increase Despite the cave explosion, in 2020 the scandal elicited new accusations of miners’ lack of accountability.

“We were ultimately responsible for the failure that led to this tragic event,” Thompson said in a statement Wednesday. This masked Rio’s other successes in 2020. Maximum dividend In its history.

“The tragic event in the Jukan Gorge is not only a source of personal sorrow and deep regret, but also a clear violation of our values ​​as a company,” he added.

Former investment banker and senior executive of the miner Anglo American executive, Thompson joined Rio’s board of directors in 2014 and became chairman four years later.

Another Rio director, Michael Restaurante, Controversial Board Survey He will retire before the company’s annual meeting in London next month for the destruction of the Juukan Canyon, where critics have said it has largely exempted senior executives from accusations.

It was Restaurante’s report that caused the shareholder backlash, the first decision of the board to impose only fines on the person responsible for the blast.

Although Rio operates from London, it is expected to face pressure to appoint an Australian as its next chairman, as it makes most of its revenue in Australia.

“The resignation of Thompson and Michael Restaurante provides an opportunity to raise Australia’s profile at the board level,” said Ian, CEO of Australian Super, Australia’s largest aging fund. Silk says.

Former Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw is one of two independent Rio directors leading the search for a new chairman, the board accepting Thompson’s decision and the new Danish chief executive officer of miners. He said he was grateful that he agreed to provide the responsible person with an important period of stability. Jacob Stausholm, Was appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Rio two years later in January.

Last month, Thompson was accused of breaking his pledge to the traditional owner of the Jukan Canyon when Rio replaced the agent for the iron ore business with a permanent appointment. The company later said it should have communicated management changes “in a more collaborative way.”

“There is no realistic prospect that Rio will rebuild relationships, trust and reputation while the person responsible for the decline in Rio’s cultural and social performance remains on the board,” said James Fitz of the Australian Corporate Responsibility Center. Gerald says.

“The resignation of Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson and director Michael Restaurante suggests that the company understands this.”

Departure is the latest in a series of changes at the top of Rio. Three of the ten boards (Jennifer Nason, Hindagarubi, Nugger Woods) have joined within the last 12 months.

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Rio Tinto rises in protest against cave blast

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