Jacques will leave as soon as his successor is chosen or at the end of next March, whatever the first date, according to the company.
Two other executives are also leaving: Chris Salisbury, head of the iron ore business, and Simone Niven, chief executive officer of the partnership. Salisbury resigns immediately and will leave the company at the end of the year. Niven will also be released in late December.
“What happened to Juukan was wrong” Rio Tinto President Simon Thompson said in a statement, referring to the destruction of two shelters in Western Australia that contained objects that show tens of thousands of years of continuous human occupation.
“We are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such great archaeological and cultural significance will never happen again in a Rio Tinto operation,” Thompson added.
The three executives will continue to receive some remuneration as part of the terms of their contracts, including long-term incentive rewards. Combined bonuses of 3, 3.8 million (approximately $ 5 million) have already been penalized.
In a report released last month, the company said it had not met some of its own standards “in terms of responsible management and protection of cultural heritage”. But it did not fire any executives – a decision that drew criticism from investor groups who accused the company of failing to take full responsibility for the demolition of the caves. The caves had important archaeological value and deep cultural significance for the natives.
In a statement Friday, Rio Tinto acknowledged that “significant stakeholders have expressed concern about the responsibility of the executive for the failures identified.”