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Rio's Albanese took home $30m

DUMPED Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese - who once declared Australia a high-risk country for business - took home more than $30 million during his five-year tenure as chief executive.

Mr Albanese, who was axed from the top job on Thursday, will depart the Anglo-Australian mining giant after nearly six years in the role.

In 2010, Mr Albanese hit the spotlight when he said the federal government's proposed resource rent tax posed a bigger sovereign risk for the company than any of its projects in developing countries. ''From my own perspective, this is my No. 1 sovereign risk issue on a global basis,'' he said during the dispute between the government and mining companies over the proposed 40 per cent profits tax.

Ultimately, it was a coal project in a developing country - Mozambique - that cost Mr Albanese his job.

The 55-year-old American will leave Rio without a bonus for the third straight year. He will not receive any lump-sum payment or short-term performance bonuses for 2012 or 2013, the company said. But he has a lifetime pension at the equivalent of $722,000 a year and holds 252,285 shares in Rio valued at $16.7 million.

Mr Albanese was paid a base salary of about $10.6 million in total over the five years, with unexercised share options from 2003 to 2009 worth $16.2 million.


In addition, his 2009 performance share plan, which could vest next month, has a current indicative value of $2.4 million.

A 2010 share plan award comprising 119,230 options would see Mr Albanese pocket another $6.7 million.

Investors have reacted positively to chairman Jan du Plessis' dumping of Mr Albanese. In London over Thursday night, the company's shares listed there initially fell by as much as 5 per cent but recovered to close just 0.5 per cent down.

On the ASX on Friday, Rio shares closed 2.7 per cent higher at $66.35.

UBS resources analyst Glyn Lawcock welcomed the elevation of 63-year-old Australian Sam Walsh to the position of chief executive, calling him a ''safe pair of hands'' who was the ''logical successor'' to Mr Albanese.

He said the scale of the $3 billion impairment of the former Riversdale coal assets in Mozambique ''raises questions about the due diligence process and was the primary driver of the need for management accountability''.