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Dec. 17, 2020, 1:38 a.m. EST

Rio Tinto names Jakob Stausholm as Next CEO

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By Rhiannon Hoyle

SYDNEY--Rio Tinto PLC named chief financial officer Jakob Stausholm as its new chief executive, replacing Jean-Sébastien Jacques who was ousted amid the fallout from the destruction of two ancient rock shelters in Australia.

Rio Tinto said Mr. Stausholm​, who joined Rio Tinto in 2018, has played a central role in strengthening the miner's balance sheet, maintaining capital discipline and boosting returns to shareholders. He​ will assume the role of chief executive from Jan. 1, 2021.

"I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company," said Mr. Stausholm.

Rio Tinto, the world's second-largest listed mining company by market value, in September said Mr. Jacques would leave the company as it bowed to pressure from investors for its senior leaders to be held accountable for the destruction of the caves at Juukan Gorge on May 24.

A federal-government inquiry recently recommended Rio Tinto negotiate a restitution package with an Australian indigenous group over the destruction of the ancient caves, which contained a trove of artifacts that indicated they had been occupied by humans more than 46,000 years ago.

Mr. Stausholm said he will also look to progress Rio Tinto's growth, sustainability and technology strategies.

"Rio Tinto's purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress and I remain deeply committed to this after the difficult times we have faced during 2020," he said.

Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Mr. Stausholm was chief financial officer and strategy and transformation officer of A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S. Earlier in his career, he spent two decades with Royal Dutch Shell PLC in a number of financial positions and as group chief internal auditor, Rio Tinto said.

He has also served as nonexecutive director of both Statoil ASA and Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

"His blend of strategic and commercial expertise, strong values and a collaborative leadership style are the ideal qualities for our next chief executive," said Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson.

Peter Cunningham, previously group controller, will become interim chief financial officer. Mr. Jacques will step down as CEO and executive director on Jan. 1 and leave the company on March 31, Rio Tinto said.

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

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