Photo: Rio Tinto announces Simon Thompson will be its next chairman, replacing Jan du Plessis. (ABC: Stephen Stockwell) After a nine-month search, Rio Tinto has picked former investment banker Simon Thompson to be its new chairman from March 5, next year. The British-born Mr Thompson, 58, will succeed Jan du Plessis, who has been the mining giant's long-standing chairman since 2008. Who is Simon Thompson? Rio did not have too look far. Mr Thompson is currently the chairman of the company's remuneration committee, having joined the company's board as a non-executive director in 2014. "Mr Thompson has over 20 years' experience working across five continents in the mining and metals industry," Rio Tinto said in a statement on Monday. This includes senior positions at global miner Anglo-American, and board positions at AngloGold Ashanti, Rusal and Newmont Mining Corp. He has also been the chairman of multinational private equity firm 3i Group (since 2015) and Tullow Oil, a British oil and gas exploration company with extensive operations in Africa (from 2012 to 2017). Earlier in his career, Mr Thompson worked at British investment banks SG Warburg (which is now a part of Swiss-based UBS), and N M Rothschild (which is controlled by the wealthy Rothschild family). "I look forward to leading the board as we work with J-S [Jean Sebastien-Jacques] and his team to ensure that Rio Tinto continues to deliver superior returns for its shareholders by maintaining its capital discipline and 'value-over-volume' approach," Mr Thompson said. Though one of Mr Thompson's most important future tasks will be dealing with the US corporate regulator, which has charged Rio with fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges the company, along with its former CEO and chief financial officer, tried to cover up more than $US3 billion worth of losses on a failed coal investment in Mozambique back in 2011. Rio is also being investigated by the UK Serious Fraud Office for "suspected corruption in the conduct of business in the Republic of Guinea". What happens to the outgoing chairman? Mr du Plessis, 63, joined Rio Tinto during a mining industry slump during the global financial