Conservative Party chief executive Sir Mick Davis could be set for a return to the mining industry, with reports suggesting he will take over from Jan Du Plessis as Rio Tinto chairman.
Sir Mick was CEO of Xstrata until its takeover by Glencore in 2013. Often referred to as “Mick the Miner”, Sir Mick drove the deal through a number of hurdles, including anti-trust investigations and wrangles about who would head up the merged entity.
He was initially appointed Conservative Party treasurer before taking the CEO role in June 2017, with a remit to undertake improvements at its headquarters, personnel, campaigning techniques and systems.
He is considered favourite to replace Du Plessis, with an announcement expected in the coming weeks, according to Sky News. It is unclear what impact the move would have on his Conservative Party role.
Rio Tinto has been under the spotlight in recent weeks over a number of investigations relating to alleged inflation of the value of its ill-fated Mozambique coal mine acquisition in 2011. Acquired for $3.7bn (£2.8bn), it was subsequently sold three years later for $50m.
Its former CEO, CFO and Rio Tinto itself have been charged with fraud by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over allegedly inflating the value of the asset, while it has agreed to settle with the Financial Conduct Authority for more than £27m.
The mining company yesterday completed an AUS$750m (£437m) buyback of off-market shares, the first tranche in its US$2.5bn share buyback programme announced in September.