Future of Rio Tinto CEO on the line as board to discuss further sanctions following caves destruction

THE fate of Rio Tinto CEO, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, hangs in the balance, according to news reports which said the Anglo-Australian firm’s board would discuss further measures to win back stakeholder trust after blowing up aboriginal caves.

Citing a Financial Times report, Bloomberg BNN said the board meeting was expected to take place before the end of the week.

A move to oust Jacques would represent a sharp reversal for Rio, after Chairman Simon Thompson last month backed the 48-year-old to lead the company’s response to the incident, said Bloomberg BNN. Jacques has served as CEO since July 2016.

Recent talks with shareholders, traditional landowners and legislators indicated the company needs to take further action to restore relations with key decision makers in Western Australia, said the newswire citing people who knew of the matter.

The Australian state is crucial for the world’s second-largest miner, hosting iron ore operations that accounted for more than 90% of its first-half profits.

Investors including AustralianSuper, the nation’s largest pension fund, have called publicly for Rio to reconsider a decision last month to impose only financial sanctions against top executives following the destruction of rock shelters in the Juukan Gorge area of the Pilbara, sites that had been found to have evidence of use by human beings more than 40,000 years ago.