Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) appoints former Indigenous Affairs minister to the board

Company News

by Michael Luu

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has found a new member for the battered board, as Ben Wyatt is set to be instated as the company’s new non-executive director, effective on September 1, 2021.

Mr Wyatt has a legal background, having been admitted to the bar as a barrister and solicitor. He became involved in politics in 2006, securing a position at the State Parliament.

The new appointee possesses profound regulatory experience from his previous leadership roles in government organisations, including Treasurer and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in the Western Australian administration.

Rio Tinto’s Chairman Simon Thompson welcomed the new appointment, “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.”

The decision happened in the wake of an exploration fiasco causing an outrage among the aboriginal community in Western Australia. Rio Tinto’s iron ore project expansion resulted in the destruction of the archaeologically significant Juukan Gorge Caves.

The incident caused an aggressive investor revolt, as 60 per cent of the company’s shareholders objected to the company’s renumeration proposal. Shareholder dissent pressured three of the company’s executives to resign from their posts in December 2020.

My Wyatt’s recruitment shows the company’s initiative to improve its standing with the indigenous community, as it attempts to remediate the damage of its development mishaps.

Shares in Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.05 per cent higher at $127.01