Rio Tinto Plc [RIO-NYSE] has named outgoing Canadian ambassador to China Dominic Barton as the company’s new Chair. Barton will join the board with effect from April 4, 2022, and be appointed to the role of Chair at the conclusion of the Rio Tinto annual general meeting on May 5, 2022.
He will succeed Simon Thompson, who is scheduled to step down as non-executive director and as Chair at the same time on May 5, 2011. Thompson served as Chair for four years and as non-executive director since 2014.
A Uganda-born Canadian, Barton spent over 30 years at McKinsey & Co, including nine as Global Managing Partner and six as Asia Chairman. He has been Canada’s Ambassador to China since 2019.
“He brings a wealth of global business experience having advised clients in a range of industries, including banking, consumer goods, high tech and industrials, as well as a deep insight into geopolitics, corporate sustainability and governance,’’ Rio Tinto said in a press release.
“It is a great honour to succeed Simon as Chair of Rio Tinto,’’ said Barton. “Returning to the private sector, I am excited to join a company with world-class people and assets as it navigates a shifting competitive landscape and seeks to emerge as a leader in climate transition,’’ he said.
“I look forward to working with Jakob and the Board to implement a strategy that puts decarbonisation at the heart of the business and positions Rio Tinto to be a leader in addressing complex global problems, while building and sustaining trust with host communities.’’
Rio Tinto is Anglo-Australian miner and a leading copper producer with a portfolio that includes the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia and the Kennecott operation in the U.S.
Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said the company looks forward drawing on Barton’s wealth of experience across Asia in both a business and diplomatic capacity.
In January, 2021, Stausholm replaced Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who resigned following a public outcry over the company’s decision to blow up two ancient Aboriginal rock shelters in Western Australia.
The site had evidence of continuous human occupation dating back 46,000 years.
Barton’s previous corporate governance work includes being Chair of Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK.B-TSX, TECK.A-TSX, TECK-NYSE), a non-executive director at Singtel Group and a non-executive director at Investor AB.
He has held various public sector leadership positions, including Chair of Canada’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and Chair of International Committee to the President of South Korea on National Future and Vision.
“His business acumen and public sector insights position him to provide critical guidance and oversight to Rio Tinto’s leadership team during a pivotal time for the company,’’ Rio said in its press release.