Rio Tinto has appointed Barbara Levi to succeed Philip Richards as group executive, group general counsel. In this role, she will lead Rio Tinto’s legal and compliance team.

Levi is currently group legal head, M&A and strategic transactions for Novartis. She will join Rio Tinto on Jan. 1, 2020, following Richards’ retirement from Rio Tinto on Dec. 31, 2019.

Levi has over 20 years’ experience in a number of senior legal roles across Europe and in the United States, both in corporate and private practice. She joined Novartis in 2004 and has held a variety of positions, including as general counsel at Sandoz from 2016 through 2019, and was previously global legal head, product strategy and commercialization, Pharma.

She also has significant experience across ethics, integrity, and governance, having been head of the anti-bribery/anti-corruption practice team; the trade sanctions practice team; and head of legal and compliance, AMAC (Africa, Middle East, Asian Countries) and GEM (Growth Emerging Markets) at Novartis.

“Barbara has extensive legal experience across corporate, commercial, and compliance matters gained within a complex multinational organization, which makes her an ideal choice to lead Rio Tinto’s legal and compliance team,” said Rio Tinto Group Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sébastien Jacques.

Prior to joining Novartis, she worked for several years as a corporate and transactional attorney with law firms in New York City and Milan. Levi is an attorney-at-law, admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York Bar, and the Italian Bar (Milan).