Miner Rio Tinto transfers CEO Sam Walsh and CFO Chris Lynch to open-ended contracts

Caitlin Morrison
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Sam Walsh: a formidable takeover.” barrier to a takeover
Mining company Rio Tinto has extended the tenure of its chief executive Sam Walsh and chief financial officer Chris Lynch, the firm announced yesterday.

Walsh, whose contract was due to end on 31 December 2015, with a break clause from 31 October 2014, and Lynch, whose contract was due to end on 28 February 2017, will both transfer to open-ended contracts with no end dates and a notice period of 12 months. They will change to these new contracts in 2015.

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. In addition, over the past 18 months, Chris has played a crucial role working with Sam and I am therefore pleased that we have agreed with both of them to replace their fixed-term retirement dates with long-term, open-ended commitments to the company.”

Walsh commented: “I am very pleased to continue as chief executive of this great business with our world-class people and assets. I will be ensuring my executive team and our 60,000-plus employees around the world all remain focused on continuing to deliver outstanding performance for all of our shareholders, driven by improved safety and productivity, value-enhancing growth and disciplined capital allocation.”

Rio confirmed that no changes had been made to either employee’s remuneration packages.

Rival firm Glencore made a merger bid earlier this year, but was rebuffed, although many analysts have speculated that a new bid might be made in six months.

Yesterday’s announcement may give pause to Glencore, however. Investec analyst Hunter Hillcoat commented: “Certainly Sam Walsh does pres­ent a formidable bar­rier to a potential takeover.”

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