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Ashamed Rio Tinto boss axes in Aboriginal mining scandal

Embarrassed Rio Tinto boss biting Aboriginal mining scandal: but he’s likely to bring in millions in wages and bonuses

  • Jean-Sebastien Jacques has earned more than £ 17 million in salary and perks during his four years at the helm
  • He won’t be allowed to leave until March next year – and can stay for another 12 months of his £ 1.16 million salary

The shamed Rio Tinto boss could be paid over £ 3,000 a day for another year, despite being forced to destroy the sacred Aboriginal caves.

Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who has earned over £ 17 million in salary and perks in the four years he was at the helm, was axed yesterday as the mining giant faced growing backlash over the scandal.

But he may not be leaving until March next year – and can stay on his £ 1.16 million salary for another 12 months.

Out: Jean-Sebastien Jacques lost his job with the mining giant after protests over the Juukan Gorge

Out: Jean-Sebastien Jacques lost his job with the mining giant after protests over the Juukan Gorge

And he could collect millions more in long-term bonuses from previous years that have not yet been paid.

The French-born British citizen has faced worldwide backlash – including condemnation by Aboriginal elders and the Church of England, whose pension fund has a small stake in Rio – since the Anglo-Australian mining giant opened two ancient caves in Pilbara, Western Australia, has blown up. in May.

The bomb shelters of the Juukan Gorge, which are about 46,000 years old, were cleared by Rio so that it could excavate 8 million tons of high-quality iron ore worth about £ 75 million that lay beneath.

The FTSE100 company has been desperate to re-establish its relationships with indigenous communities, shareholders and politicians – with the Australian Parliament conducting an investigation into its actions.

This included cutting executive payouts and linking Jacques’ annual bonus, which was worth £ 1.7m last year.

But this has turned out not to be enough to soften the critics. Following a board meeting on Thursday, the miner announced yesterday that Jacques and two other executives – iron ore boss Chris Salisbury and head of corporate relations Simone Niven – would be stepping down.

Protest: The FTSE100 company has desperately tried to restore its relationships with indigenous communities, shareholders and politicians

Protest: The FTSE100 company has desperately tried to restore its relationships with indigenous communities, shareholders and politicians

Protest: The FTSE100 company has desperately tried to restore its relationships with indigenous communities, shareholders and politicians

To ensure a smooth transition, Jacques will stay on until March 31 of next year or until a replacement is found – whichever is earlier.

Simon Thompson, President of Rio Tinto, said: “ We have listened to concerns from our stakeholders that a lack of individual accountability is undermining the group’s ability to rebuild that trust and continue to implement the changes identified in the management review. ‘

Jacques, 48, who receives a base salary of £ 1.16 million, is contractually entitled to a 12-month notice period. This means he could still receive around £ 3,200 a day for another year, even if he stops working. Commentators, however, were more focused on the wider impact of their departure.

Mining expert Ben Cleary, a partner at Tribeca Investment Partners, said the Rio cleanup could halt or slow down a number of major mining projects.

He said: ‘For the chief executive and a few senior managers to discuss an ESG [environmental, social and governance] matter, it’s just going to reverberate through boardrooms across the industry. ‘

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