Albanese between rock and hard place

Marion Dakers
It seems Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese can’t win.

After navigating the mining group through choppy financial waters to report record profit, lower debt and a $5bn buyback last week, Albanese’s firm was derided as “pathetic” and “boring” by the market.

While a share buyback is generally the last refuge of a board that’s run out of ideas, investors are looking to the bellwether firm to share the spoils of the commodities boom as quickly as possible without the drama of another blockbuster acquisition attempt.

Perhaps management should plump for the safe, albeit dull, option and return the cash while they still can.