|Shake-up at the top after miner Rio Tinto reveals US$14b hit from Mozambique deal
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto announced a US$14 billion writedown related to its Mozambique coal assets and ailing aluminum business today, prompting its chief executive to resign.
“The Rio Tinto board fully recognizes that a write-down of this scale in relation to the relatively recent Mozambique acquisition is unacceptable. We are also deeply disappointed to have to take a further substantial writedown in our aluminum businesses,'' said chairman Jan du Plessis.
He said chief executive Tom Albanese had stepped down effective immediately “by mutual agreement with the Rio Tinto board,’’ and would be succeeded in the top job by Rio Tinto's iron ore chief Sam Walsh.
Doug Ritchie, who led the acquisition of the Mozambique assets, previously known as Riversdale Mining Limited, also stood down, he said.
Neither would get a lump sum payout or outstanding bonuses.
“While I leave the business in good shape in many respects, I fully recognize that accountability for all aspects of the business rests with the CEO,’’ Albanese said.
The announcement comes a day after the mining giant unveiled record production in 2012 and beefed up expansion plans for its flagship Australian iron ore operations.