* New CEO's base salary around 1 mln pounds
* Does not get some expatriate benefits former CEO Walsh had
* Walsh says always acted lawfully, confirms agreed deferral
(Updates with comment from Sam Walsh)
By Barbara Lewis
LONDON, March 2 The world's second biggest miner
Rio Tinto has deferred for at least two years a
decision on former chief executive Sam Walsh's
performance-related pay, after a scandal over $10.5 million in
payments to a consultant in Guinea.
The scandal erupted in November after Rio Tinto become aware
of emails from 2011 that referred to the payments in connection
with the vast Simandou iron ore project. Investigations are
In an emailed statement, Walsh said he agreed "in good
faith" to the deferral as best practice in terms of the
company's corporate governance.
"I would add that the company acknowledges my firm belief
that during my time with Rio Tinto I always acted lawfully and
in accordance with my duties and this applies to the Simandou
project," he said, adding that after 25 years with the company
he had left "with a good conscience".
Walsh, who took retirement in 2016, was named in the emails
sent by senior executive Alan Davies. Davies was sacked in
November and is taking legal action.
In its annual report published on Thursday, Rio Tinto said
its board decided it would not be appropriate to decide on
Walsh's "outstanding remuneration" for now.
It said it had therefore reached agreement with Walsh to
defer payment of long and short term incentive plans for "a
minimum of two years".
The 2016 base salary of Walsh's successor Jean-Sebastien
Jacques, who took over as chief executive from July, was around
1 million pounds ($1.2 million) plus a performance-related bonus
of 1.5 million pounds, half of which was paid immediately and
the other half deferred for three years.
The annual report also said Jacques would not receive the
expatriate benefits provided to his predecessor.
Walsh's base salary was nearly 2 million Australian dollars
($1.5 million) when he retired.
As shareholders press for a more moderate approach to
executive pay, another miner Anglo American has said its
annual report to be published later this month will put forward
a cap on long-term incentive plans, on which shareholders will
vote in April.
Last year, shareholders said Anglo American CEO Mark
Cutifani's remuneration was too generous after a share price
collapse linked to the commodity downturn. All the big miners
have since recovered.
($1 = 0.8151 pounds)
($1 = 1.3127 Australian dollars)
(Additional reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Elaine
Hardcastle and Mark Potter)