Jean-Sebastien Jacques is redesigning Rio Tinto for the new world order – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – July 1, 2018)

Jean-Sebastien Jacques is a leader well-suited to the now routine tempests of the Trump era. If there is a theme consistent through the fluid narrative of his opening years as Rio Tinto chief executive it is that the practices of the past are now no guide to the needs of the present and future.

Jacques is not prepared to take anything for granted – free trade, social licence, the way we work, trust in sovereigns or the relationships between corporations and the social orders it inhabits.

Rio’s boss was at his free-speaking, free-thinking entertaining best before an audience gathered for that annual oddity, the Melbourne Mining Club’s London dinner. Jacques subsequently garnered headlines by once again warning that miners faced a return of double-digit inflation.

The rising tide of costs is a theme of public concern at Rio not least because it is headed to a final investment decision on a big new mine in the Pilbara, but because it is the middle of a prudently timed growth phase in copper and bauxite and because it spends billions annually in maintaining its global mining estate.

But, as it turned out, Jacques’ focus on inflation was fleeting as he skipped through a globe of concerns that ended with the conclusion that the days were over for the “purely transaction model” that has ever shaped the way companies like his have engaged with their customers and their host communities.

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