Rio Tinto CFO Chris Lynch prepares for his departure

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Lynch
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — London, United Kingdom, September 15, 2017 — Chris Lynch, finance chief of Rio Tinto, prepares for his departure. As announced by Rio Tinto plc in a news release on Friday, September 15, 2017, Christopher James (Chris) Lynch leaves the post as chief financial officer at the Australian-British metals and mining corporation, effective by the end of September 2018.

Lynch’s move comes 14 months after Jean-Sébastien Jacques took over as CEO of Rio Tinto plc.

Rio Tinto will undertake a search for a successor.

Long goodbye

It is a long goodbye. The announcement of Lynch’s move comes up to twelve months prior to his planned departure from the post of CFO.

In general, a top executive who announces the departure very early may be considered a lame duck.

Lengthy lead times give boards extra time to find replacements, and they also create uncertainty. Would-be successors may jockey for attention and workers may wonder who is actually in charge.

Generally speaking, lame-duck leaders can take a forceful role in selecting a successor and are not expected to launch major shifts.

No reason given

In the announcement, Rio Tinto did not explicitly explain the reason for Lynch’s move, opening the door for speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Lynch was not immediately available.


Rio Tinto said: “Rio Tinto chief financial officer Chris Lynch has informed the board that he intends to retire from his role by the end of September 2018.”

Share price rise since January 2016

The change follows a rise in the share price of Rio Tinto plc since January 2016.

Chaired by Jan du Plessis

Rio Tinto plc is chaired by Jan du Plessis.

CEO: Jean-Sébastien Jacques

Jean-Sébastien Jacques serves as CEO of Rio Tinto plc. Jean-Sébastien Jacques has been the Chief Executive Officer of Rio Tinto since July 2, 2016.

On the job as CFO since 2013

Chris Lynch joined the Rio Tinto board in September 2011 and was appointed chief financial officer in April 2013.

Lynch, an Australian citizen, has significant experience in the mining and metals industry, having spent over 30 years working in these fields globally.

Lynch also has extensive listed company experience at board level across a variety of leadership roles, providing the board with significant operational and financial expertise.

He was chief executive officer of the Transurban Group, an international toll road developer and manager with interests in Australia and North America, until 2012.

His career has included seven years at BHP Billiton, where he was chief financial officer and then executive director and group president – Carbon Steel Materials.

Prior to this, Lynch spent 20 years with Alcoa Inc. where he was vice president and chief information officer based in Pittsburgh, and chief financial officer of Alcoa Europe in Switzerland.

He was also managing director of KAAL Australia Limited, a joint venture company formed by Alcoa and Kobe Steel.


As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step down with no successor available, it is a sign that the move was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Chris Lynch’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 38.2017 ($).