Jan du Plessis

Brad Gordon
Bradley Gordon
December 26, 2016
mark-cutifani - Mining Africa
Mark Cutifani
December 20, 2016

Jan du Plessis

  • Company: Rio Tinto Group
  • Year of birth: 1954
  • Last known country of residence: United Kingdom

Jan Petrus du Plessis is an Afrikaner South African business veteran. He is known for achieving tenth place in The Times Power 100 of 2006 – a well-known list in which the top most powerful people in the business industry of the United Kingdom are rated. As in 2016 du Plessis was the chairman of Rio Tinto Group, a British/Australian multinational metals and mining corporation.


Jan du Plessis was born on 22 January 1954 in the Cape Province of South Africa. He grew up close to the legislative capital of South Africa, Cape Town. After completing his high school education du Plessis enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch where he studied commerce, law and accountancy. He graduated with a LLB and a bachelor’s degree in 1977. In addition to his degrees du Plessis also became qualified as a South African chartered accountant.


Active in business since 1975, Jan du Plessis has held several managerial roles in South African companies in the tobacco and luxury goods industries. He started working at the South African arm of the Rembrandt Group in 1981 where he held a variety of executive roles. The company transitioned into being a luxury goods concern, and was renamed to Compagnie Financière Richemont and at the time of the transition in 1988 du Plessis was employed as group finance director. From 1990 until 1995 he worked at Rothmans International, a tobacco manufacturing company, as Group Finance Director. In 1999 Rothmans International was amalgamated with British American Tobacco and du Plessis became a non-executive director on the board. In 2004 he took on the role of non-executive chairman of British American Tobacco and resigned from his role at Richemont. The following year du Plessis was appointed as non-executive chairman of RHM, a food company based in the United Kingdom. In March 2009 an announcement was made that du Plessis was appointed as chairman of the international mining group Rio Tinto. In 2014 he also accepted an appointment as board member of SAB Miller, a multinational brewing and beverage company. In July the following year du Plessis took on the role of chairman of the company.

Jan du Plessis' Appointments

Besides the prominent executive roles that du Plessis held through the years, he also holds several board memberships. In addition to chairing the board of SAB Miller, he holds a seat in the International Chamber of Commerce of the United Kingdom as a member of the governing body. Du Plessis is also a board member of Lloyds TSB, a British retail and commercial bank that has branches throughout England and Wales.

Personal Life

Jan du Plessis was born in South Africa but has dual citizenship to South Africa and the United Kingdom. He resides in the UK with his wife in their home in Buckinghamshire. Even though Jan du Plessis spent years of his career in prominent roles in the tobacco industry, he has not ever tried to smoke.
Jan du Plessis chairman of Rio Tinto Group