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Jacynthe Côté

Rio Tinto Alcan chief executive officer Jacynthe Côté's total remuneration was cut by nearly 27 per cent last year to $3.1-million due to weak performance of the aluminum division and a $11-billion (U.S.) writedown, according the London-based miner's annual report.

The 54-year-old Quebec native's base salary increased 6.6 per cent to $921,000 (Canadian) but Ms. Côté's bonus and long-term incentives were reduced.

Ms. Côté's cash bonus and the value of deferred shares were cut to $201,000, from $950,000 in 2011. Long-term awards were reduced to $1.38-million from nearly $2-million a year earlier.

She was docked because of the large impairment charge that caused parent company Rio Tinto PLC to report its first loss – $3-billion (U.S.) on $51-billion of net revenues – and a fatality in January, 2012, at the Roberval and Saguenay railway in Quebec.

The Montreal-based aluminum division earned just $3-million, a drop of $439-million from 2011, as its felt the effects of a significant deterioration in market conditions and the impact of a protracted lockout of employees at its smelter in Alma, Que.

Revenues dropped 17 per cent to $10.1-billion, driven by a sharp fall in the average aluminum market price to $2,018 per tonne and lower production at Alma, offset by the expansion of the Yarwun refinery in Australia.

Rio Tinto executives can receive up to double their base salary in bonuses based on the performance of their business unit, but the value of incentives awarded to Ms. Côté represented 21.6 per cent of her salary. Factors driving additional awards including reducing costs, expanding margins, reducing the carbon footprint and delivering the Yarwun expansion.