Rio Tinto CEO Resigns Amid Furor Over Destruction of Ancient Juukan Gorge Caves

Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) has announced the resignation of its CEO following outgrade after the destruction of the Juukan gorge caves.

Rio Tinto (RIO) name on a large building against a blue sky
Source: Rob Bayer /

According to a news release from Rio Tinto, current Jean-Sébastien Jacques is resigning from the company as a result of the incident. It’s worth noting that the company has already started a search for a replacement CEO.

Jean-Sébastien Jacques will continue to serve as the CEO for a period of time. The Rio Tinto news release says that he will resign when a replacement is found, or on March 31, 2021, whichever comes first. He will also be leaving the Board of Directors at that time.

Simon Thompson, chairman of Rio Tinto, said the following about the news.

“What happened at Juukan was wrong and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation. We are also determined to regain the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and other Traditional Owners. We have listened to our stakeholders’ concerns that a lack of individual accountability undermines the Group’s ability to rebuild that trust and to move forward to implement the changes identified in the Board Review.”

It’s worth pointing out that Rio Tinto didn’t break any laws when it destroyed the Juukan caves back in May. However, activist investors and environmental groups put pressure on the company after it claimed no individual mistake was made in response to the initial controversy.

RIO stock was up 5% as of Friday afternoon.

On the date of publication, William White did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

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