The issue

In May 2020, Rio Tinto detonated an aboriginal cultural heritage site at Juukan Gorge, Western Australia, causing significant damage to the company’s community relations and wider reputational consequences.  Internal and external investigations into the detonation at Juukan Gorge revealed deficiencies in the company’s policies and procedures to manage risk in this area. Initially, the failure resulted in the cancellation of annual bonuses for the CEO and two other senior executives, but this was later escalated to the termination of all three executives. Subsequently, the chairman announced that he would step down from the board in time for the 2022 AGM.

The outcome

The remuneration report was voted down with an opposition of approx. 61% of participating shares. The re-election of the chairman was approved.