Rio Tinto names Simon Thompson as next chairman

New Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson Simon was previously an executive director of Anglo American and chairman of Tarmac. Photo: Rio Tinto
New Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson Simon was previously an executive director of Anglo American and chairman of Tarmac. Photo: Rio Tinto

Simon Thompson will become the next chairman of mining giant Rio Tinto, when he succeeds Jan du Plessis in March.

Mr Thompson is an experienced mining industry executive with more than 20 years in the industry, and has been on Rio Tinto's board as a non-executive director since 2014. He has also worked as investment banker at NM Rothschild and SG Warburg.

Mr du Plessis said: "I am really pleased to be succeeded by Simon, especially given how closely we have worked together since he joined the board some three years ago. I wish him the very best. I am handing over the baton at a time when the business is in great shape and Rio Tinto has the strongest balance sheet in the sector."

Mr du Plessis has been chairman of Rio for almost nine years.

Mr Thompson said: "I am honoured to accept this role and to succeed Jan as chairman. Rio Tinto is in great shape, with a strong management team, world-class assets and a successful strategy. I look forward to leading the board as we work with J-S and his team to ensure that Rio Tinto continues to deliver superior returns for its shareholders by maintaining its capital discipline and 'value-over-volume' approach".

Rio Tinto is briefing investors in Sydney on Monday.

Mr Thompson's appointment ends considerable speculation over who would replace Mr du Plessis as chairman of the mining giant.

This story first appeared on Brisbane Times.