Conference table and empty chairs in board room

Your industry personnel roundup – here we cover who’s moved where, which boardrooms have been shaken-up and the new leaders making big decisions in organisations across the industry.

Fortescue Metals Group underwent arguably the biggest shakeup in the industry’s recent months, losing its Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Fortescue Future Industries all in the space of a week.

Mere days after attending the company’s 20-year anniversary celebrations, then-CEO Fiona Hicks was the first one to jump ship, leaving the company on 28 August – less than six months into the job. Hot on the heels of Ms Hicks’s announcement was CFO Christine Morris’s departure on 31 August – a mere three months into the role. Fortescue Future Industries Director, Guy Debelle, quickly followed suit, with his exit from the company announced on 1 September.

Venture Minerals announced its new strategy aiming to recruit new talent and skill sets to the company’s Non-Executive team.

Part of this strategy was the appointment of a new Non-Executive Director to its Board, with Philippa Leggat stepping into the role. A further progression in the strategy will involve the current Non-Executive Chair, Mel Ashton, retiring from his position following the company’s mid November Annual General Meeting. The company has commenced a recruitment process to secure a new Non-Executive Chair.

Another company that made changes to its leadership team is Newmont Corporation, announcing a number of leadership appointments in efforts to strengthen the company’s operating model and boost safe and productive operations of the company’s expanding portfolio of assets with the proposed acquisition of Newcrest.

Natascha Viljoen joined Newmont as Chief Operating Officer on 2 October. It was announced that Suzy Retallack would take on the responsibility of Executive Australia, in addition to her role as Chief Safety and Sustainability Officer (CSSO) and will be based in Perth, Australia. This appointment is due to the Australia region being expected to have a significantly increased operational and strategic importance to Newmont’s global portfolio upon completion of the Newcrest transaction in the fourth quarter 2023.

Summit Minerals welcomed a new CEO, with Jiahe “Gower” He stepping into the role and bringing extensive experience in the lithium and battery metals industry to the team. Lithium Australia announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, with the promotion of the current CEO of Lithium Australia, Simon Linge, to the company’s Board, in addition to his ongoing role.

Mr Linge has been Lithium Australia’s CEO since January 2023 and is a highly credentialed executive, bringing more than 25 years of global manufacturing, recycling and engineering services experience to the company.

Rio Tinto appointed a new Chief Executive of Aluminium to lead its alumina business, succeeding Ivan Vella who operated in the role for almost three years. Jérôme Pécresse stepped into the role on 23 October. Rio Tinto also appointed a new Non-Executive Director to its Board, with James “Joc” O’Rourke commencing in the role on 25 October.

Liontown Resources appointed a new General Manager of Operations to its Kathleen Valley Lithium Project. Aaron Nankivell stepped into the role with his appointment coming well ahead of project start-up, which is on schedule for first production mid-2024.


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