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Rio Tinto’s Aluminum Chief Cote Quits Citing Personal Reasons

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, said the head of its aluminum division Jacynthe Cote has quit for personal reasons to pursue other interests.

Alfredo Barrios, 48, will replace Cote from June 1. He joins the company after a 22-year stint with BP Plc where he was most recently a senior executive at its TNK-BP venture, London-based Rio said today in a statement. Cote will continue as an adviser until September 1, Rio said.

Rio’s aluminum division reported net income of $557 million last year, up from $54 million a year earlier. Cote, previously at Alcan Inc. prior to the $38 billion takeover by Rio in 2007, was promoted to head of the unit in 2009.

During her tenure she battled depressed aluminum prices, managed disputes with unions and local governments over shuttering smelters and sought to sell unwanted assets. She was paid $4.7 million last year in total compensation.

Speaking at an investor conference earlier this month Rio’s Chief Executive Officer Sam Walsh said the company was “getting more bullish” on aluminum.

Barrios was executive vice president of downstream operations at Russian oil producer TNK-BP.

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