Rio Tinto has announced a new organizational structure with the creation of a chief operating officer and chief executive for its Australia business. Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said he wanted to re-establish Rio Tinto as a “trusted partner” to host communities, government and stakeholders, particularly in Australia. The company has been trying to repair its relationship with Aboriginal groups after it destroyed sacred caves in Australia last year.

Stausholm has appointed Simon Trott, currently chief commercial officer, as the iron ore chief executive; Copper & Diamonds Chief Executive Arnaud Soirat will become group COO; and Kellie Parker, now managing director of Pacific operations Aluminum, will join the executive committee as chief executive Australia.

“While Rio Tinto continues to deliver strong safety and operational performance, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, there are improvements we can achieve across the business to make Rio Tinto more resilient, and an even stronger performer and employer,” Stausholm said.

Rio Tinto will retain four product groups – aluminum, copper, iron ore, and minerals, which will now also include the diamonds business. Ivan Vella, currently interim iron ore chief executive, will become aluminum chief executive; Energy and Minerals Chief Executive Bold Baatar will become copper chief executive; and Sinead Kaufman, currently managing director operations copper and diamonds, will join the executive committee as minerals chief executive.

As COO, Soirat will use his experience to drive company-wide improvements in the Rio Tinto production system during a fixed 18-month term.

The product groups will continue to be supported by the Safety, Technical and Projects Group, run by Mark Davies, which includes the recently established Communities & Social Performance function.

In her role as chief executive Australia, Parker will focus on rebuilding trust and strengthening external relationships across Australia.

Aluminum Chief Executive Alf Barrios will become chief commercial officer.

Vera Kirikova, chief people officer, has decided to leave the company and James Martin, currently a partner at Egon Zehnder, will take over on April 6.