Currently chief financial officer, Stausholm joined Rio Tinto in 2018, having previously held senior positions at shipping company AP Moeller-Maersk and at oil producer Shell.

The appointment comes as Rio Tinto faces a series of corporate hurdles despite its share price trading at close to an all-time high due to the booming iron ore and copper markets.

In Australia, Rio Tinto is attempting to reconcile with local stakeholders after the destruction of significant aboriginal archeological sites in the Pilbara while mining iron ore, which led to predecessor Jean-Sébastien Jaques leaving the top job.

“I am... acutely aware of the need to restore trust with the [indigenous population] and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company,” Stausholm said.

Rio Tinto is also facing a standoff with the government of Mongolia over the funding of its Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, where an underground expansion project is set to cost $6.75 billion

Then there is Simandou project in Guinea where the company has been in negotiations over the control of what is one of the world's biggest iron ore deposits.

Peter Cunningham will become interim CFO.