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Rio Tinto CEO bolting after $14B write-down

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 9:25 p.m. MST

LONDON — The chief executive of mining giant Rio Tinto PLC and another senior executive are stepping down immediately after the company announced a $14 billion write-down from its aluminum business and an acquisition of a coal company in Mozambique.

CEO Tom Albanese and Doug Ritchie, who led the Mozambique acquisition, were stepping down "by mutual consent" but will stay until July 16 to assist with the transition, the company said Thursday.

Sam Walsh, head of the iron ore division, becomes chief executive of Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest diversified mining company.

The company disclosed that it will take an impairment charge of about $14 billion in its 2012 results to be published on Feb. 14, including about $3 billion on the acquisition of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, and $10 billion or more on the value of the company's aluminum assets.

Rio Tinto acquired the Mozambique operation in 2011.

Albanese will continue to receive their salaries during the transition period.

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