Rio Tinto boss Jean-Sébastien Jacques and two senior executives will be replaced after an investor revolt forced the mining giant’s board to escalate its response to the destruction of the ancient Juukan Gorge rock shelters.

Mr Jacques, Rio’s iron ore division boss Chris Salisbury and corporate affairs boss Simone Niven will depart the company in the coming six months, the board said, following a series of crisis meetings held this week.

In a statement on Friday morning, the board said Mr Jacques, 48, would stay as CEO until the appointment of his successor or until March 31, whichever was earlier.

Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques.Credit:Josh Robenstone

The decision comes after months of escalating pressure from Aboriginal groups, top shareholders and government leaders over Rio Tinto’s decision to destroy the two culturally significant rock shelters in Western Australia’s Pilbara region which had evidence of continual human occupation tracing back at least 46,000 years.

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