Jean-Sébastien Jacques has been appointed new chief executive of Rio Tinto, to succeed Sam Walsh who will retire from the business on 1 July 2016.

 To ensure a smooth transition, Jacques will join the board and become deputy chief executive with immediate effect.

Jacques has worked for more than 15 years across Europe, Southeast Asia, India and the United States in a wide range of operational and functional positions in the aluminium, bauxite and steel industries. He served as group strategy director for Tata Steel Group from 2007 to 2011.

‘Jean-Sébastien is a very experienced executive with a demonstrated track record and brings a unique blend of strategic and operational expertise,’ said Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis. ‘He has run complex operations and projects across five commodities and five continents. J-S is a highly-regarded leader who shares Rio Tinto’s strong values and has embraced its culture.’

Stronger company

‘The board appointed Sam as chief executive at a challenging time for our company and I am very grateful for his tremendous leadership during the past three years,’ du Plessis added. ‘Against the backdrop of a volatile economic environment, Sam and his team have transformed the business, removing more than US$6 billion of costs, strengthening the balance sheet and returning more than US$13 billion to shareholders. Sam leaves Rio Tinto as a much stronger company, with a bright future.’

 Chris Salisbury has been appointed acting chief executive of the copper & coal product group and will attend the Rio Tinto executive committee in this capacity. The rest of the executive team remains unchanged.

This story uses material from Rio Tinto, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.