Tuesday appointed Tom Albanese to succeed Leigh Clifford as chief executive next year.
The succession will take place May 1, following the London-based mining company's annual meeting in April.
Albanese, a U.S. citizen, joined Rio Tinto in 1993 and has had a succession of senior positions, most recently director of group resources.
Clifford has worked for Rio Tinto for 37 years, the last seven of which he served as CEO.
Rio Tinto's American depositary receipts (ADRs) were higher by $4.26, or 1.9%, at $224.04 in recent trading Tuesday.