Boyden Executive Search

Rio Tinto has appointed transport and logistics executive Jacob Stausholm, formerly of A.P. Moller-Maersk, as Chief Financial Officer.

Jacob Stausholm will replace Christopher Lynch, who is retiring. Lynch’s retirement was announced last September, giving the Anglo-Australian mining giant time to undertake an intensive executive search process. Rio Tinto currently has the strongest balance sheet amongst the world’s major mining companies; therefore the company was keen to recruit a finance leader with proven ability to maintain the company’s financial strength. To help ease the transition, Lynch will retire on September 30, with Stausholm taking over as CFO on September 3.

Stausholm is the former CFO of Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk, as well as its Chief Financial, Strategy & Transformation Officer for the Transport and Logistics division. His former boss said that Stausholm was one of the drivers of Maersk’s transformation from a broad conglomerate with interests in oil to a more focused shipping company. Stausholm stepped down in March after the company decided to separate the finance role from IT and digital transformation, Reuters reports. Prior to joining Maersk in 2012, Stausholm was CFO of ISS A/S, a global facility services provider. His earlier career was in the oil industry, including roles at Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell.

Analyst Tyler Broda of RBC Capital Markets called Stausholm a “solid choice”. “His previous energy experience will also have provided significant experience to natural resources. The appointment of an executive from outside the mining industry should be taken positively by investors, in our view, as the industry continues to try and improve its long-term capital allocation track record,” he said.

In addition to his new C-suite role, Stausholm will serve as an executive director on Rio Tinto’s board, effective September 3. Chairman Simon Thompson said Stausholm’s experience would enrich the board’s discussions and ensure a continued focus on “disciplined capital allocation and the pursuit of superior shareholder value”. Analysts agree that Rio Tinto has a very strong balance sheet, though some bankers say it is under pressure to buy assets and diversify its portfolio.

CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques said that outgoing CFO Lynch leaves Rio Tinto a stronger company than when he was appointed CFO in 2013. Commodity markets crashed in 2015-2016, dealing a blow to the mining industry. Mining companies have since recovered, with Rio Tinto standing out for its shareholder returns. “Chris has helped embed a disciplined focus on costs and capital allocation,” Jacques said in a statement.

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