Rio Tinto shakes up management board, whittles down debt

 
Jessica Morris
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(FILE) A couple of gigantic Komatsu 930,
Jean-Sébastien Jacques will take the top spot on 2 July (Source: Getty)

Rio Tinto's incoming chief exec reached deeper into the miner's arsenal of tools today, as it battles a prolonged price slump.

Deputy chief exec, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, who will take the top spot on 2 July, appointed Chris Salisbury to run the FTSE 100-listed firm's core iron-ore operations.

Read more: Rio Tinto says Lithium project has proven "an attractive investment"

Salisbury is currently acting chief of Rio’s copper and coal division, and will be taking over from Andrew Harding who was also seen as a potential successor to outgoing chief exec Sam Walsh.

"A big departure, but not a great surprise given that Andrew must have been vying for Sam Walsh's role ... this possibly made it untenable that he remain" Hunter Hillcoat, analyst at Investec, said.

The company also announced plans to slimline its debt pile by an additional £3bn through its June tender offer. Rio is steadily reducing its debt by selling assets to combat tumbling commodity prices, bought about by a slowdown in China.

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