Mining giant Rio Tinto on Friday appointed Ian Bauert, who set up the company's first office in China more than 25 years ago and is fluent in Chinese, to head its operations in the country, aiming to improve relations with its largest customer.
"Ian's experience and leadership will provide strategic direction and help guide all aspects of our engagement with China, one of our most important partners," said Tom Albanese, Rio Tinto's Chief Executive Officer.
Albanese said he was deeply committed to developing relationship with China.
Bauert will be based in Shanghai and will lead Rio Tinto's 160-strong team of employees in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Before this, Bauert was head of iron ore sales and marketing. He set up the company's first office in China more than 25 years ago.
"The appointment recognizes the importance of China as a long-term partner with our organization and our intention to foster new and dynamic relationships as China's development continues," said Doug Ritchie, chief executive of Rio Tinto's Energy group.
Rio Tinto's business in China was hampered by the arrest of its Shanghai office staff member Stern Hu on charges of stealing state secrets and that Rio Tinto spurned a US$19.5 billioninvestment from Chinalco last year.
Headquartered in London and also has offices in Melbourne, Rio Tinto is the world's second-largest iron ore supplier. Its major asset was distributed in Australia and North America. (China Daily)