Fresh from posting its first loss in nearly two decades, mining giant Rio Tinto has announced a reshuffle of its executive leadership.

Andrew Harding has been moved from Chief Executive of Copper to head up the company's Iron Ore department, replacing Sam Walsh who was appointed as the company's new Chief Executive in January.

Jean-Sebastien Jacques will  join the company's Executive as he moves in to replace Mr Harding as Chief of Copper, moving up from Copper President, International Operations.

"These two appointments strengthen our senior management team and are in line with our strategy of developing the next generation of talented Rio Tinto leaders," Mr Walsh said.

"Andrew's experience across a range of Rio Tinto businesses and countries and his three years on the Executive Committee mean he is ideally placed to run the highest-earning business in the Group.

"Jean-Sebastien has been with Rio Tinto for just over a year and has made a real impact and injected some fresh thinking into the Copper business."

Andrew Harding will be based in Perth and Jean-Sebastien Jacques will remain based in London.