Rio Tinto’s technology and innovation chief Greg Lilleyman will leave the mining giant after 25 years.
Lilleyman, who enjoyed a seat on the company’s executive committee and answered directly to the chief executive, had been in the high-ranking tech role since 2014.
He is credited with driving the Mine of the Future program at the miner's WA Pilbara sites, which set out to extract huge productivity gains from innovations like autonomous trucks, real-time supply chain information and data visualisation.
Since 1990 Lilleyman worked throughout the Pilbara, Hunter Valley, and Canadian sites of Rio’s iron ore and energy operations. He ascended to the role of president of Pilbara operations in 2011 before joining the technology and innovation team in 2013.
A spokesman said his departure is effective as of today.
"Greg has had a long career with Rio Tinto and played an important role in the development of our industry leading Mine of the Future program in our Pilbara iron ore operations and has led our productivity drive," Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh said in a statement.
“We wish him well for the future.”
While the miner seeks a permanent replacement for Lilleyman, it has handed his responsibilities to head of exploration Stephen McIntosh.
The acting appointment will see McIntosh temporarily promoted to the top executive table, while retaining his exploration duties.
McIntosh is no stranger to the mining technology space, having already tinkered with cutting edge mineral scanners and big data inside his exploration portfolio.
He too is a long serving veteran of the miner, having spent 30 years with the company, including a stint heading its project generation group.
“For a long time now, our T&I function has provided a point of strategic differentiation for Rio Tinto and Stephen will spearhead the group’s drive for further productivity improvement across the business,” Walsh said.
The leadership changes pre-empt the arrival of new Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who is expected to formally succeed Sam Walsh on 2 July this year.