New Rio Tinto chief plays down expansion expectations

Rio sources say 44-year-old French executive's command of operational and financial detail were important factor in appointment

Rio Tinto's incoming chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques has put paid to suggestions his appointment represents a shift to expansion at the mining giant, after a series of ill-fated acquisitions and the worst commodities rout in decades resulted in three years of aggressive cost cutting.

Mr Jacques, who was anointed as Rio's next chief executive on Friday and will replace incumbent Sam Walsh in July, has been in charge of the London-based miner's copper and coal division, where he caught the board's eye by selling $US1.8 billion ($2.35 billion) in assets and generating cost reductions of almost $US2 billion.

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