London-based mining giant Rio Tinto has announced the appointment of Chris Lynch as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer, replacing outgoing CFO Guy Elliot in mid-April this year.

Mr Lynch joined the Rio Tinto as a non-executive direction in September 2011, and will remain on the board as an executive-director.

The appointment comes after Mr Elliot announced his plan to retire from the group after 30 years with the company. He steps down as chief financial officer at the conclusion of the Rio Tinto plc AGM in London on 18 April 2013.

Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said "Chris Lynch is an extremely high-calibre addition to our executive team with a strong pedigree of board, mining and financial experience, including at BHP Billiton where he was chief financial officer and ran the Carbon Steel Materials division, and 20 years at Alcoa. We are fortunate to have appointed someone so well qualified to take over from Guy, and I am grateful to Guy for remaining on the boards until the end of the year."

Chris Lynch said "This is a wonderful opportunity for me to join Sam's leadership team and work with him in refocusing the business on pursuing greater shareholder value. I am really looking forward to getting stuck into the challenge and ensuring we deliver on our promises to improve this great business."

Rio has also announced it will streamline the Executive Committee by reducing the number of positions reporting to him from 11 to nine. The vacant group executive Strategy position will not be filled, and strategy will continue to be part of the chief financial officer portfolio.