Rio Tinto appoints a new legal chief after Guinea payments probe sacking

Courtney Goldsmith
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Philip Richards will join Rio Tinto after standing in since December (Source: Getty)

Rio Tinto has appointed Philip Richards as group chief of legal to replace Debra Valentine, who was removed in November due to a payments probe related to mining rights in Guinea.

The company sacked Valentine and former chief executive of energy and minerals Alan Davis for having "failed to maintain the standards expected of them" under Rio Tinto's global code of conduct, after it opened an investigation into a $10.5m (£8.6m) payment to a consultant advising on the group's huge Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

Shares in the mining giant have edged down 1.86 per cent at 3,292p in morning trading.

Read more: Rio Tinto might walk away from the world's second biggest copper mine

Richards, who has been acting in the role since December, will now have responsibility for all group legal services and will join the Rio Tinto executive committee.

Chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said: "Philip has demonstrated in his time with us that his significant, almost 40-year experience in legal affairs will be a real asset for our company. He has quickly embraced the strong Rio Tinto culture and I am very pleased to have him join our team."

Richards came to Rio Tinto on secondment from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Italy where he worked as a senior partner specialising in corporate law.

He also has experience acting for a broad range of global companies including Barclays, Tesco, Prudential, LSEG, Liberty Global and Swiss Re.

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