THE name of Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American, cropped up following the resignation of Jean-Sebastien Jacques, boss of rival firm, Rio Tinto, last week.
Citing analysts and bankers, the Financial Times, said Cutifani was a possible replacement for Jacques, as well as Sandeep Biswas, CEO of Australian miner, Newcrest Mining. Cutifani was in 2019 approached by BHP after its then CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, announced he was leaving the company.
Jacques resigned under pressure from shareholder groups dissatisfied with Rio Tinto’s response to blowing up ancient aboriginal caves during blasting for iron ore in Western Australia. Head of iron ore at Rio Tinto, Chris Salisbury, and Simone Niven, group executive of corporate relations, will exit the group by year-end.
All the internal candidates that could fill Jacques’ shoes have left the company, including Alan Davies, the former head of Rio’s energy and minerals division, said the Financial Times.
Friday’s shake-up has also put the spotlight on Simon Thompson, a former Anglo American executive, who was appointed in 2018 after investors torpedoed plans to install former Xstrata boss Mick Davis as chairman.
“Going forward, board composition is absolutely critical for Rio Tinto to regain trust with investors and communities,” said UK Local Authority Pension Fund Forum chair, Doug McMurdo. Asked by the Financial Times if he was considering resigning, Thompson brushed aside the question, saying he was “absolutely committed to ESG issues”.
“There is absolute determination to put this right,” he added.