Rio Tinto cave-in is a victory for shareholder activism but the clear out should have gone further

So, too, the idea that Jacques was the right man to repair the damage. After all, he claimed he wasn’t even aware of the importance of the ancient cave shelters despite a series of external reports highlighting precisely that.

Yet, even with Jacques and two other senior managers – head of iron ore Christopher Salisbury and corporate affairs chief Simone Niven – finally gone, the FTSE 100 giant faces a fight to salvage its name. The trio aren’t leaving because of some epiphany at the top, they’ve walked the plank because the backlash became deafening.

The bunker mentality occurs naturally in the boardroom when there is clear wrongdoing. Even when it is obvious to the outside world what needs to happen, senior executives will try to desperately cling on in the hope that it all blows over. 

Imagine, then, what some of these individuals might try to get away with if there wasn’t the external scrutiny by a free press and shareholder activism to hold them to account. Rio might have blown up the Acropolis or bulldozed the Taj Mahal by now.

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