Rio Tinto freezes salaries but CEO Sam Walsh believes it can thrive – by Amanda Saunders (Australian Financial Review – January 14, 2016)

Barely two weeks into 2016, and predictions of an even tougher year in mining than the last are, so far, on point.

But for iron ore giant Rio Tinto there could be a silver lining of sorts in what is shaping to be an ugly 12 months.

Chief executive Sam Walsh says the carnage could provide opportunity for Rio to widen the gap against its fellow majors. “Rio Tinto can thrive when others falter,” Mr Walsh said in a note to staff.

For Rio staff, the new year started with an email this week from Walsh that put a global pay freeze in place across the company. Rio is going to get stricter on expense management, and further cut what it spends on consultants and contractors.

“If something is not essential, stop doing it,” Mr Walsh said in the note.

For a start, that means more video-conferencing, and less travel. Mr Walsh told staff he has cancelled “numerous” flights in his calendar, and the rest of the company should follow suit.

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