REUTERS: Major miner Rio Tinto named Jacob Stausholm, formerly CFO of Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk, to replace outgoing financial boss Chris Lynch when he retires in September, the Anglo-Australian mining company said on Tuesday.
Lynch’s retirement was announced last September, triggering a search for a replacement to maintain the financial strength of a company with the strongest balance sheet of the major miners.
Stausholm stepped down as CFO at Moller-Maersk in March after the company decided to separate the finance role from its IT and digital transformation function.
His former boss said he had been one of the drivers of the Danish company's strategic transformation from a broader conglomerate including an oil business to a more focused shipping company.
From 2008 to 2011 Stausholm, 49, was CFO of facility services provider ISS A/S .
Before that, he worked in the oil industry with jobs at Statoil, Woodside Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell. Rio CEO Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in a statement that Lynch left Rio Tinto a stronger company than when he began in 2013.
Commodity markets crashed in 2015-16, dragging down mining companies, and 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.
Rio Chairman Simon Thompson said Stausholm’s experience would enrich Rio Tinto's board discussions and ensure the continued focus on "disciplined capital allocation and the pursuit of superior shareholder value".
Analysts are unanimous that Rio Tinto has a very strong balance sheet, but some bankers say the company is under increasing pressure to buy assets and diversify its portfolio after a series of sales and a mounting pile of cash.
Following Tuesday's announcement, Rio Tinto shares were down 0.5 percent at 4,397 pence on the London Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Teis Jensen and Barbara Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)