People Moves: Ben Wyatt joins Rio Tinto board

Rio Tinto has made its first Aboriginal board appointment, hiring former Western Australian state treasurer Ben Wyatt

Rio Tinto has appointed Ben Wyatt to its board as non-executive director; he becomes the first Aboriginal board appointment at the world’s second largest mining company.

Ben Wyatt

Ben Wyatt, retired from state parliament in March after a 15-year career that included time as Aboriginal Affairs Minister, where he helped reshape legislation to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage. Wyatt’s appointment as a non-executive director is timely as Rio Tinto seeks to rebuild its reputation with the communities it operates in following last year’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge rockshelters.

Wyatt brings extensive public policy, regulatory and international trade experience to the Board from his time as Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister in the Western Australian Government. Before entering the State Parliament in 2006, Wyatt was a barrister and solicitor.

“I have deep respect for the resources sector in Australia and have long been impressed with the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by Rio Tinto,” said Wyatt.

“I was deeply saddened and disappointed by the events at Juukan Gorge but I am convinced that Rio Tinto is committed to changing its approach to cultural heritage issues and restoring its reputation, particularly in Australia and Western Australia. I am looking forward to working with the Board in building on the momentum for change generated by the new leadership team.”

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson commented: “I am delighted to welcome Ben to the Rio Tinto Board. With family links to the Pilbara and an impressive track record in public life, Ben’s knowledge of public policy, finance, international trade and Indigenous affairs will significantly add to the depth of knowledge on the Board at a time when we are seeking to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders in Australia and around the world.”

Ben Wyatt Biography 

Ben Wyatt’s career commenced in law, initially as a barrister and solicitor with a major national Australian law firm before joining the WA Director of Public Prosecutions. During his 15-year political career in the Western Australian Parliament, he held the ministerial portfolios of Treasury, Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs. A graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon, Mr Wyatt has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia and a Masters of Science with Distinction from the London School of Economics. He is a non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum Ltd

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