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Rio Tinto appoints new executives to lead iron ore, copper units

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Rio Tinto Group, the world's second-biggest mining company, appointed new heads to lead its key iron ore and copper divisions as its incoming top executive prepares to take up his post next month.

[MELBOURNE] Rio Tinto Group, the world's second-biggest mining company, appointed new heads to lead its key iron ore and copper divisions as its incoming top executive prepares to take up his post next month.

Chris Salisbury, 49, becomes head Rio's top-earning iron ore division from July, switching from his current role in charge of copper and coal, the London-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Arnaud Soirat, 51, takes a new role in charge of copper and diamonds.

"Our strategy, commitment to balance sheet strength and focus on shareholder returns will not change," Jean-Sebastien Jacques, named in March as Rio's incoming chief executive officer said in a statement.

"We are strengthening our structure and delivery by placing our assets at the heart of the business to drive improved performance."

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Mr Jacques was picked to replace CEO Sam Walsh in a move regarded as a pivot toward growth after years of aggressive cost-cutting amid waning prices and faltering demand in China.

Rio's board and its partners last month approved a US$5.3 billion expansion to more than double output at the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

Andrew Harding, the current head of the iron ore division and a 24-year veteran with Rio, will leave the company from next month, according to the statement. Mr Walsh, appointed as CEO in 2013, is scheduled to retire on July 1, Rio said in March. Mr Soirat is currently aluminium primary metal president.

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