Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson to step down in 2022



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign adorns the building where mining company Rio Tinto has their office in Perth, Western Australia

(Reuters) – Rio Tinto (LON:) Ltd said on Wednesday Simon Thompson will step down as chairman next year after deciding not to seek re-election as a non-executive director at the miner’s 2022 annual general meeting.

Analysts said last month Thompson would likely face increasing pressure to step down over the board’s handling of the destruction of rock shelters, after an indigenous group accused him of breaking a personal promise.

The destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock shelters last year sparked a public and investor uproar that led to the resignation of then CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two deputies.

“I am ultimately accountable for the failings that led to this tragic event,” Thompson said on Wednesday.

Non-executive director Michael L’Estrange will also retire from the board after this year’s AGM, Rio said.

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