He goes to Rio: Chris Lynch is the mining company's new CFO. Photo: Ken Irwin
FORMER Transurban chief executive Chris Lynch has been named Rio Tinto's chief financial officer, to take over from retiring stalwart Guy Elliott.
Mr Lynch, a non-executive director of Rio since September 2011, was CEO at Transurban from 2008 until 2012 and before that worked six years as CFO at BHP Billiton and 20 years in senior roles at Alcoa.
Rio announced in July that Mr Elliott, a 30-year veteran of the company, would retire from the board at the end of 2012.
Rio chief executive Sam Walsh, who took over suddenly from Tom Albanese in January after the unveiling of $US14 billion in writedowns, said Mr Lynch was ''an extremely high-calibre addition to our executive team with a strong pedigree of board, mining and financial experience. We are fortunate to have appointed someone so well qualified to take over from Guy, and I am grateful to Guy for remaining on the boards until the end of the year.''
Mr Lynch was credited with reducing Transurban's high debt in the years following the global financial crisis and ditching the so-called Maquarie model, which included paying distributions out of borrowings. He spent more than four years in the top job before leaving Transurban in July 2012 after deciding the ''time was right'' to pursue the ''next stage'' of his career.
But his time at Transurban was marked by repeated shareholder revolts over his high level of pay.
Mr Lynch will remain on the Rio board and join Rio's executive committee, relocating from Melbourne to London. He will receive a salary of £800,000 a year ($A1.185 million), plus a short-term bonus of up to 120 per cent of his base pay, plus a long-term incentive of up to 210 per cent of his base pay.
Deutsche Bank's chief mining analyst Paul Young said Mr Lynch was ''certainly well qualified'' for the CFO role at Rio and ''during his time at BHP he was highly regarded and very successful in running the iron ore business''.