Sam Walsh

Sam Walsh: CEO, Rio Tinto Iron Ore

"No man is an island - how lessons from a global career drive decision-making"

Following the premature death of his father, Sam took responsibility for his family’s affairs and developed leadership skills as a teenager. Sam commenced his career with General Motors and worked for Holden and Nissan before seizing the opportunity to ‘reinvent’ himself by moving to the mining industry in 1991. Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Iron Ore since 2004, Sam is also responsible for the evolving global iron ore projects in Brazil, Guinea and India and represents Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s interest in the Hope Downs joint venture.

As Chairman of the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund, Sam has a pivotal role in contributing to the development and welfare of regional communities. Shaped by various management styles and cultures gleaned from his vast experience, Sam is well-suited to this pivotal role that is crucial to Rio Tinto Iron Ore and WA alike. A proponent of long-term vision, Sam’s challenge is to maximise the current opportunities in a dynamic marketplace for lasting success.From motorcars to mining, join us to hear the story of Sam’s success both internationally and in Western Australia.

Sam Walsh was appointed chief executive of Rio Tinto’s extensive Iron Ore group in 2004. His responsibilities cover operations and projects in Australia, Canada, Guinea and India, as well as Dampier Salt and Rio Tinto Marine. He has overseen the rapid expansion of this group - more than US$7 billion has been spent on mine expansions and major infrastructure developments since 2004 and in 2009 net earnings were more than US$4 billion.

In June 2009, Sam was appointed as an executive director to the boards of Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Limited, and in November 2009, chief executive of Rio Tinto Australia. He is also the Rio Tinto ExCo sponsor for Australia, India and West Africa.

Sam is the nominated initial chairman of the non-executive owners’ council of the proposed Rio Tinto production joint venture with BHP Billiton, involving the companies’ respective iron ore assets in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Sam has been with Rio Tinto since 1991. Prior to joining the Iron Ore group, he held a number of management positions within Rio Tinto, including chief executive of the Aluminium group.

Before joining Rio Tinto, Sam spent 20 years in the automotive industry and held senior roles with General Motors and NissanAustralia. Sam has a Bachelor of Commerce fromMelbourneUniversityand has completed a Fellowship Program at Kettering University in Michigan. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Chartered Institute of urchasing and Supply.

Sam’s other appointments include non-executive director of West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited, a vice president of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, chair of Black Swan State Theatre Company, chair of the WA Chapter of the Australian Business Arts Foundation and chair of the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund. Sam is also patron of the State Library of Western Australia Foundation and a patron of the UWA Hackett Foundation.

In 2010, in recognition of his distinguished contribution to business and to the community, Sam was appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order ofAustraliaand awarded an Honorary Doctor of Commerce by Edith Cowan University. In 2007 Sam was named Western Australian Citizen of the Year - Industry & Commerce and an Australian Export Hero.

Sam and his wife Leanne reside in Perth, Western Australia. Sam has three children: Ben, Carolyn and Tom.

Event Partners

Event Details

Tuesday, 12 September, 2006
The Grand Ballroom, The Hyatt Regency
Seat Price:
$82.50 ($74.25 for paid subscribers)
Tables (10):