Robert Court | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations

Robert Court

Head of global external affairs
Rio Tinto

As Rio Tinto’s senior policy and corporate affairs leader, Robert Court has helped the company elevate stakeholder engagement to a policy-level function and a source of competitive advantage. In his role as head of global external affairs, he helps the company analyze and anticipate the external environment, develop sustainable strategies for mitigating risk, and build board consensus. “We see ourselves as a guest in a host community,” he told Mines to Markets, the company’s in-house publication. “We start with discussions about matters that are far from settled. We set out our goals but we want as well to listen and understand what the government or other party’s expectations are…. This helps us build up a viewpoint of our mining context in the external world. Only then can we begin to test the viability of our preferred project design.” Court joined the mining company in 2009, having previously worked as a vice president in government affairs at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, and before that served as deputy high commissioner in the British High Commission in Canberra. Earlier, he held several roles at Rio Tinto, including group coordinator for sustainable development and head of community affairs.