Written on the 6 September 2016


FORMER Rio Tinto iron ore boss Andrew Harding (pictured) will take over from Lance Hockridge as CEO of Aurizon (ASX:AZJ) from December, becoming only the second person to lead the rail company since its IPO in 2010.

Chairman Tim Poole says CEO succession planning has been a priority for the Brisbane-based company's board this year, and a global search was undertaken before Harding was chosen.

"He has global operational experience, has managed complex logistics operations attached to mining operations and has a detailed understanding of the issues facing our customers," says Poole.

Harding joined Aurizon in June after 24 years with Rio Tinto, where he last held the role of Chief Executive Iron Ore.

He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from the University of New South Wales.

"Andrew's ability and experience will be essential in driving the next phase of transformation to increase value for Aurizon shareholders," says Poole.

Harding will commence with Aurizon on 1 December 2016.

Hockridge will continue in his role with full responsibilities as MD and CEO until Harding commences and on ceasing employment with Aurizon later that month will receive termination benefits in accordance with the provisions of his contract of employment as previously disclosed.

"Our inaugural Managing Director and CEO, Lance Hockridge, has led the company since our IPO in 2010 and has been a chief architect of our success to date," says Poole.

"Lance's leadership and vision have been crucial to what we have been able to achieve as a company. Our financial and operating performance metrics have significantly improved since IPO and he has been successful in bringing many in line with world class performance."






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