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Own Fortescue (ASX:FMG) shares? Here’s why the miner has just hired the RBA’s deputy governor

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The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) deputy governor, Guy Debelle, has resigned from his position and is going to work for Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) instead.

But he’s not about to start working at a mine.

Dr Debelle is taking up the position as the new chief financial officer (CFO) of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

What’s Fortescue Future Industries?

Fortescue was set up to be a major iron mining business. It’s now one of the biggest in Australia and the world. help

However, the company is now pivoting.

In December it officially announced that it was transitioning from a pure-play iron ore and future-facing metals exploration group, to a vertically integrated green energy and resources group.

Its focus is a major green, fully renewable hydrogen initiative. It boasts of having the largest portfolio of green hydrogen, green ammonia, green iron ore and other green product developments, in the world.

FFI is also working on the decarbonisation of Fortescue through the development of a green fleet and the supply of green energy.

One of the latest moves by Fortescue has been to acquire Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) for US$221 million. This will provide technology and expertise in high-performance battery systems and helping Fortescue’s operational efficiency, lower maintenance costs and accelerate the decarbonisation of its mining operations.

The WAE deal will also establish a “significant new global battery growth business opportunity for Fortescue”.

So how does Dr Debelle fit into this?

Fortescue Chair Andrew Forrest said in an announcement:

Bringing in someone of Dr Debelle’s economic credibility goes to the heart of our vision for FFI. Not only are we committed to arresting climate change, we are also committed to creating economic growth, increasing jobs and growing our business profitability.

Dr Debelle, with the leadership team, will drive the most optimal financial solutions for FFI’s vast technology and energy portfolio. This will be instrumental in Fortescue’s journey to become the best green hydrogen, energy, and resources company in the world.

We will prove that going green has a profitable future for companies the world over. We will demonstrate this so that other heavy emitters, like us, will follow our efforts and go green too. Further, we will produce the green energy and ammonia to enable them to do it.

Dr Debelle was touted as a lead candidate to be the next boss of the RBA, but he and his family are reportedly passionate about climate change.

Dr Debelle comments

In a statement on the RBA website, Dr Debelle said:

I am honoured and privileged to have worked at the Bank for the past 25 years and contributed to improving the welfare of the Australian people. The Bank is a great institution which serves Australia well, including most recently through the policy response to COVID which has helped the country come through the crisis in a strong position. I have often spoken about the opportunities for business to help address climate change. This new position gives me the opportunity to make a significant contribution in this area.

Fortescue share price snapshot

Over the last month, the Fortescue share price has fallen around 20%. In the 2022 calendar year to date it has declined over 8%.

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