Fresh shake-up at Rio Tinto in aftermath of bribery probe

Rio CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques said he regularly reviews Rio’s structure and is comfortable with it. (Image: Rio Tinto via Flickr)

Mining giant Rio Tinto (LON, ASX:RIO) has once again reshuffled its top management team, replacing a senior executive and adding a new member as the company deals with a probe into a questionable payment made to an external consultant over the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

Chief executive officer Jean-Sébastien Jacques, who took the helm less than six months ago, has appointed Vera Kirikova as head of human resources. She is replacing Hugo Bague, who among his duties is responsible for Rio’s email and information technology systems.

Rio Tinto — who is also facing a US investigation into a $3bn write-down on a mine in Mozambique — is reinforcing its communications department.

Bague, who will leave the company in March next year, has been facing questions since last month, when a French website unveiled emails exchanged by three of Rio Tinto’s former executives about the controversial $10.5m payment to an adviser in Guinea.

The news triggered an internal probe and the involvement of US and UK authorities as well as the World Bank’s private investment arm, and prompted Rio Tinto to fire energy and minerals chief Alan Davies and the head of legal and regulatory affairs Debra Valentine.

While the miner did not disclose what information prompted the suspension and the sacking of Davies and Valentine, people familiar with the matter told Financial Times that Rio Tinto has known about the 2011 emails referring to the dubious payment for over a year, and not just since August, as the firm claimed when the emails first leaked to the press.

Not surprisingly, Rio Tinto — who is also facing a US investigation into a $3bn write-down on a mine in Mozambique — has decided to reinforce its communications department. As part of the latest reshuffle, the miner said it has appointed Simone Niven, head of corporate affairs, to its executive committee.

This is not the first reorganization orchestrated by Jacques, who replaced Sam Walsh in July. Ten days before officially assuming as the new CEO of the company, he announced the departure of the iron ore division boss, Andrew Harding, once tipped as the most likely person to take the company’s reins.

He also said at the time that it was combining Rio’s copper and diamonds divisions into a single group, while coal, uranium salt, borates and other units would become part of a new business, branded as “energy and minerals.”

248 0

More Coal News

Latest Stories

MSHA honours Massey operations for safety achievements

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in the USA has selected the Green Valley Preparation Plant and two mines operated by the Aracoma Coal Co to receive Pacesetter Awards for outstanding safety achievements. Green Valley and Aracoma are operating units of Massey Energy Co. The awards to the Green Valley plant and Aracoma’s Alma and Hernshaw mines honour operations [...]

Eyes on Indian Underground

increasing demand for coal. Industry observers believe that India is poised to become a major market for mining equipment, even larger than China, and this opportunity has led several global mining companies to open up shop in the country at least four


Bateman makes major acquisitions in mineral processing

As IM May is prepared for printing, with an article on developments in mineral processing, comes dramatic news from Bateman. The company has recently acquired the mining-process division of Intertech, with a strong market presence in the CIS. Even more significant, Bateman’s latest acquisition, announced as IM goes to press, is that of the Delkor [...]