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Rio Tinto Extends CEO Sam Walsh's Term

Mining giant Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) (ASX:RIO) (NYSE:RIO) has announced it will retain the services of CEO Sam Walsh next year and beyond after his fixed-te...

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|Oct 23|magazine4 min read

Mining giant Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) (ASX:RIO) (NYSE:RIO) has announced it will retain the services of CEO Sam Walsh next year and beyond after his fixed-term retirement date was replaced with a long-term, open-ended contract.

The uncertainty around the CEO’s position at the company fueled speculation that an impending boardroom implosion would make Rio Tinto vulnerable for a takeover.

Walsh, 64, was due to end his contract in December 2015 but Rio Tinto said the “decision to extend his tenure has been an easy one for the board.”

“For quite some time, Sam has made no secret of the fact that he loves his job and would like to continue well beyond next year,” said Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis. “Given his performance and his enthusiasm to continue in the role, the decision to extend his tenure has been an easy one for the board.”

According to Plessis, Chris Lynch, chief financial officer, would also have his fixed term retirement date replaced by a long-term, open-ended commitment to the company.

“Since their appointments early last year, Sam and Chris have led a transformation of the business and established a track record of delivering on their promises.”

He added, “Rio Tinto has increased cash flows from operations, achieved significant operating cash cost improvements, reduced net debt and refocused capital expenditure on projects with the most compelling returns.”

Walsh joined Rio Tinto in 1991, replacing Tom Albanese as chief executive in 2013.