Sam Walsh Gets To Keep His Job At Rio

Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh will be able to keep his job indefinitely, the miner’s board has decided.

The Rio Tinto board has extended the tenure of chief executive Sam Walsh and chief financial officer Chris Lynch, who were both put on fixed term contracts when the company reshuffled its management team about 18 months ago.

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis said: “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. 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.”

Walsh and Lynch were both appointed in early 2013, given a mandate to improve productivity, margins and cut costs across the company’s operations.

“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,” du Plessis said.

Posting stellar first half underlying earnings of $5.1 billion in August, the company increased its operating cash flow by 8% to $8.7 billion and cut operating cash costs by $3.2 billion since 2012. More on that here.

“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,” du Plessis said.

The decision to retain Walsh and Lynch on open-ended contracts was made at the September board meeting after members decided the pair were the best duo to lead the company in a climate of lower mining investment and commodity prices.

Sam Walsh was pretty happy about the decision which means he’ll stay on as boss after next year.

“I am very pleased to continue as chief executive of this great business with our world-class people and assets,” he said.

“I will be ensuring my executive team and our 60,000-plus employees around the world all remain focussed on continuing to deliver outstanding performance for all of our shareholders, driven by improved safety and productivity, value-enhancing growth and disciplined capital allocation.”

Lynch, whose contract was due to expire in February 2017, said the job of streamlining Rio is far from done.

“There is no doubt we have made some great progress but we all appreciate the job is far from complete,” he said.

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