Rio Tinto’s ousted boss received a pay rise in 2020 despite overseeing the destruction of the Juukan Gorge, a sacred site in Australia.
Jean-Sébastien Jacques, the company’s former chief executive, received £7.2m during 2020, according to the mining company’s annual report on Monday. That was 24% higher than the £5.8m he was paid in 2019 as the value of shares awarded to him increased.
Jacques was forced to resign after the scandal caused outrage in Australia. Rio Tinto, which had known of the gorge’s significance to Aboriginal traditional owners, initially responded by cutting the bonuses of executives.
Simon Thompson, who has remained Rio Tinto’s chairman throughout the scandal, said: “Our strong performance during 2020 was overshadowed by the destruction of the ancient rock shelters in the Juukan Gorge and I reiterate our unreserved apology to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people.
“We fell far short of our values as a company and breached the trust placed in us. It is our responsibility to ensure that the destruction of a site of such exceptional cultural significance never happens again.”