Rio Tinto Names New Managing Director

Rio Tinto on Thursday announced the appointment of Bill Champion as managing director of Rio Tinto’s Diamonds business unit.

Champion will replace Steve Hodgson, who will join Rio Tinto Alcan upon the completion of Rio Tinto’s acquisition of Alcan Inc., expected in the fourth quarter of 2007. Hodgson has considerable experience in the aluminium sector.

Champion is currently managing director of Kennecott Utah Copper, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto, in the U.S. and will take responsibility for Rio Tinto’s Diamonds business on Nov.1.

“I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of opportunities in the diamond industry, from exploration through to sales and marketing and I look forward to working with my team to ensure Rio Tinto is well placed to capitalise on these opportunities,” Champion said.

Champion will be based in London and will be responsible for all Rio Tinto’s diamond mining operations – the Argyle mine in Australia, the Diavik mine in Canada, and the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe – as well as Rio Tinto Diamonds NV, the Antwerp based diamond sales and marketing division.

Champion’s appointment coincides with a restructuring of Rio Tinto Diamonds NV, which includes the appointment of Jean-Marc Lieberherr to the new position of general manager Sales and Marketing. Lieberherr has been general manager Marketing for the past two years and with the impending return of Peter Topen to Australia, will take responsibility for the Antwerp operation, the Mumbai and New York representative offices, and the Perth based Argyle Pink Diamond business.