Aurizon Holdings has announced the departure of Managing Director and CEO Lance Hockridge, and the appointment of Andrew Harding as his successor.

Aurizon Chairman Tim Poole said a priority for the Board this year had been CEO succession planning.

“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,” Mr Poole said.

“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.”

Mr Poole said after completing an extensive global search process, the Aurizon Board was delighted to be able to secure Mr Harding as successor commencing December 2016.

“Andrew’s ability and experience will be essential in driving the next phase of transformation to increase value for Aurizon shareholders,” Mr Poole said.

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

Until June 2016 Mr Harding had worked for more than twenty-four years at Rio Tinto and its subsidiaries, most recently as Chief Executive Iron Ore. Prior to his most recent role he held various executive management, operating and functional roles both domestically and globally across the Rio Tinto business.

“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,” Mr Poole said.

Mr Hockridge will continue in his role with full responsibilities as Managing Director and CEO until Mr Harding commences in the role.

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