The ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) is down 0.9% after another selloff overnight in US markets, particularly the US tech sector.
Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) CEO leaves
The Rio Tinto board has been talking extensively with shareholders, Traditional Owners, Indigenous leaders and other stakeholders. The miner said that significant stakeholders have expressed concerns about executive accountability for the failings identified from the Juukan rockshelters in May 2020.
It has been agreed that J-S Jacques will step down from his roles as CEO and executive director. A process for searching for a new CEO is underway, though he will remain in his role until a new person is appointed, or 31 March 2021 – whichever comes first. Rio Tinto said this would ensure business continuity.
Chris Salisbury will step down as chief executive of iron ore with immediate effect and will leave the company on 31 December 2020, to be replaced on an interim basis by Ivan Vella.
Simone Niven will step down as group executive of corporate relations and will leave on 31 December 2020.
Rio Tinto said the separation terms, including the long term incentive rewards, for all in line with its remuneration policies and their applicable contractual terms. They will continue to be subject to the financial penalties previously disclosed in the board review.
Rio Tinto is establishing a new social performance assurance function, reporting to Mark Davies, to strengthen oversight of communities and heritage practices and performance within the operations.
Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said: “What happened at Juukan was wrong and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation. We are also determined to regain the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and other Traditional Owners.
“We have listened to our stakeholders’ concerns that a lack of individual accountability undermines the group’s ability to rebuild that trust and to move forward to implement the changes identified in the board review.”
Freedom Foods Group Ltd (ASX: FNP)
Freedom Foods said it has secured the ongoing support of its principal lenders and majority shareholder, ensuring access to financial facilities while the company undertakes a planned recapitalisation. The company is working through a number of issues today.
It has secured a standstill deed with its two main lenders, HSBC and National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB). This is effective until 30 November 2020 and is subject to the company meeting certain milestones relating to its recapitalisation plan.
With the support of a guarantee from an entity related to Arrovest, which is the majority shareholder, HSBC and NAB have also agreed to continue to make liquidity facilities available during the standstill period.
Freedom Foods interim CEO Michael Perich said: “We are grateful for the ongoing support of our financiers and our majority shareholder. These agreements provide us with the financial support and flexibility we need to ensure the business continues to perform at its best while we pursue recapitalisation options.”
The company’s shares will remain suspended until 30 October 2020.
The team over at Rask Media have covered the rest of today’s news, so make sure you head over there for more ASX share market coverage.
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