Simon Thompson is replacing Jan du Plessis at Rio Tinto

Rio’s Oyu Tolgoi operation in Mongolia. Image: Rio Tinto.

Simon Thompson, a former investment banker who went into mining, is the next chairman of Rio Tinto.

He replaces Jan du Plessis who has been chairman for almost nine years.

Thompson, who joined the Rio Tinto board as a non executive director in 2014, will become chairman on March 5 next year.

He has more than 20 years working in the mining and metals industry. From 1995 to 2007, he was with Anglo American group. His board director experience includes AngloGold Ashanti, Rusal and Newmont Mining Corporation.

Thompson has been chairman of 3i Group plc since 2015 and was chairman of Tullow Oil plc from 2012 to 2017. Earlier in his career, he held investment banking positions at S.G. Warburg and N M Rothschild.

Simon Thompso. Image: Supplied

“I am honoured to accept this role and to succeed Jan as chairman,” he says.

“Rio Tinto is in great shape, with a strong management team, world-class assets and a successful strategy. I look forward to leading the board as we work with J-S and his team to ensure that Rio Tinto continues to deliver superior returns for its shareholders by maintaining its capital discipline and ‘value-over-volume’ approach.”

Rio in September announced a $2.5 billion share buyback following the sale of its subsidiary Coal & Allied.

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