People Moves: Ben Wyatt joins Rio Tinto board
Rio Tinto has appointed Ben Wyatt to its board as non-executive director; he becomes the first Aboriginal board appointment at the world’s second largest mining company.
Ben Wyatt, retired from state parliament in March after a 15-year career that included time as Aboriginal Affairs Minister, where he helped reshape legislation to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage. Wyatt’s appointment as a non-executive director is timely as Rio Tinto seeks to rebuild its reputation with the communities it operates in following last year’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge rockshelters.
Wyatt brings extensive public policy, regulatory and international trade experience to the Board from his time as Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister in the Western Australian Government. Before entering the State Parliament in 2006, Wyatt was a barrister and solicitor.
“I have deep respect for the resources sector in Australia and have long been impressed with the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by Rio Tinto,” said Wyatt.
“I was deeply saddened and disappointed by the events at Juukan Gorge but I am convinced that Rio Tinto is committed to changing its approach to cultural heritage issues and restoring its reputation, particularly in Australia and Western Australia. I am looking forward to working with the Board in building on the momentum for change generated by the new leadership team.”
Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson commented: “I am delighted to welcome Ben to the Rio Tinto Board. With family links to the Pilbara and an impressive track record in public life, Ben’s knowledge of public policy, finance, international trade and Indigenous affairs will significantly add to the depth of knowledge on the Board at a time when we are seeking to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders in Australia and around the world.”
Ben Wyatt Biography
Ben Wyatt’s career commenced in law, initially as a barrister and solicitor with a major national Australian law firm before joining the WA Director of Public Prosecutions. During his 15-year political career in the Western Australian Parliament, he held the ministerial portfolios of Treasury, Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs. A graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon, Mr Wyatt has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia and a Masters of Science with Distinction from the London School of Economics. He is a non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum Ltd.
People Moves: Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Rio Tinto has appointed Peter Cunningham as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with immediate effect. Peter, who has been Interim Chief Financial Officer since 1 January 2021, will also join the Rio Tinto Board as an executive director at the same time.
Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Peter Cunningham was previously Group Controller and has held a number of senior financial and non-financial leadership positions across Rio Tinto in Australia and the UK. In a career spanning 28 years with Rio Tinto, he has held roles including Global Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities; Head of Energy and Climate Strategy; and Head of Investor Relations.
Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Peter qualified as a chartered accountant.
Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm commented: “I am delighted to confirm Peter in the role and, having worked closely with him for a number of years, I know he is the ideal person to be our Chief Financial Officer. His detailed knowledge of the company and of the financial and non-financial drivers of our industry will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen Rio Tinto.”
Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson added: "I look forward to Peter joining the Rio Tinto Board and know from experience that his deep understanding of Rio Tinto and commitment to disciplined capital allocation will serve shareholders well and enrich our Board discussions.”
Rio Tinto aiming for net zero by 2050
Rio Tinto is aiming to reach net zero emissions across its operations by 2050. Across the company, it is targeting a 15% reduction in absolute emissions and a 30% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, from a 2018 baseline.
Aluminium is found in everything from cars to phones. But one of the challenges of producing this essential material responsibly is finding ways to decarbonise the process.
Part of the reason is creating alumina – the main ingredient in aluminium – takes a lot of energy, which in turn creates greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies will be essential to helping reduce emissions, but many haven’t been proven. And some not yet even discovered. Rio Tinto is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)to develop hydrogen energy options and make a positive step towards these goals.