Rio Tinto is looking for a new chair to earn around $1.2 million for 9 board meetings a year

Rio Tinto Chairman Jan du Plessis. William West/AFP/Getty Images

Jan du Plessis is retiring as Rio Tinto chairman after eight years in the role.

He’s moving on to become chairman of BT Group Plc, the British multinational telecommunications services company, from November.

The 144-year-old British-Australian miner is now actively looking for a new chair.

Rio Tinto, like all resources companies, has until recently been doing it tough. Last month it posted a $US4.6 billion annual profit, the result of the global commodity rally.

The company has 51,000 employees in 35 countries, generates cash flow of $US8.5 billion and underlying earnings of $US5.1 billion.

The pay is good. The current chairman has been paid 730,000 British pounds a year for the last three years. Depending on the exchange, that’s about $AU1.2 million.

Du Plessis also has 30,000 shares, worth about $AU1.8 million.

The workload comes in the form of meetings, about 14 of them, including 9 formal board meetings, a range of committees and two annual general meetings.

Planning for chair succession started in June 2016 after the announcement of the appointment of Jean-Sébastien (J-S) Jacques as chief executive, taking over from Sam Walsh.

Rio Tinto senior independent director John Varley is leading the process. A successor is expected to be announced before the end of this year.

“When we announced the appointment of J-S as chief executive a year ago, I committed to the board to serve as chairman for another two years, as part of a planned leadership transition,” says du Plessis.

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