Rio Tinto appoints three women as non-executive directors

Rio Tinto has appointed three female non-executive directors as the mining group moves to address the lack of diversity on its board.

The company was identified as having one of the least gender diverse boardrooms when it was pointed out that it had three times more men called Simon on its board than women.

However, the Anglo-Australian company said on Thursday it had appointed Ngaire Woods, a professor at the Oxford University, Jennifer Nason, the global chair of JPMorgan Chase, and Hinda Gharbi, the executive vice-president at the oil services firm Schlumberger. They join Dr Megan Clark, the head of the Australian Space Agency, who has been on the board since 2014.

Simon Thompson, the chairman of Rio Tinto, said: “I am delighted to welcome Hinda, Jennifer and Ngaire and look forward to benefiting from their insights and expertise in natural resources, finance, technology, governance and public policy. Their diverse international experience will further strengthen the Rio Tinto board.”

The appointments bring the company’s board back to its full complement of 12, a third of whom are women.

This month, the latest report from the government-backed review into the gender diversity in big business revealed that women now fill a third of board seats at the top 350 UK-listed companies. The target has been achieved almost a year ahead of schedule.

A second goal to have 33% of women in leadership teams of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 firms by the end of 2020 looks unlikely to be met.

Rio Tinto lost two female non-executive directors last year and pledged in its annual report that as vacancies arose it would seek to increase the proportion of women on the board.

Mining has traditionally been male-dominated and the industry has moved in recent years to try to address the gender gap.

Last year, BHP promoted three women to its senior executive team as the company looked to rebalance its workforce to be 50% female by 2025.

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