Analysts were caught off guard by the departure of Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese after the company announced billions of dollars in writedowns.
Mr Albanese's resignation followed a US$14 billion ($13.3 billion) devaluation of Rio's struggling aluminium businesses and a recently purchased coal mine in Mozambique.
Shares are expected to fall today on the local share market as investors digest the size of the writedowns, what it might mean for the giant mining company, and as they question the value of such a highly paid executive who apparently got it so wrong.
Gavin Wendt, the senior resources analyst at MineLife, says the surprise announcement is likely to spook the market.
"I'd imagine there's going to be at least an interim impact on the share price.
That's probably going to be negative because the market just wasn't expecting it," he said.
"When the market gets these sorts of occurrences it doesn't tend to reflect to well on companies.
So I'm sure there's going to be a near term hit." However, Justin Urquhart Stewart from Seven Investment Management in London says he says the sudden departure as a sign of good corporate governance.
"It really came as a quite a surprise this morning but, when you look at the numbers involved, then frankly I regard it as actually good corporate governance and behaviour," he said.
"Because when you look at an industry like this which really, when you look at the previous examples, have got a very poor history of acquisitions, then it is about time that executives started carrying the can for huge losses to their businesses." 'Kick up the backside' In a statement, Tom Albanese said he was taking responsibility for the huge write-downs, which Rio Tinto chairman, Jan du Plessis described as unacceptable.
Tom Albanese will not get a golden handshake.
He has agreed not to take a lump sum payout or a bonus.
Justin Urquhart Stewart says that is the right decision.
"Frankly, if you fail in your business, you fail and you're out.
I know if I was failing in my business I wouldn't expect a golden handshake.
I'd get a real good kick up the backside," he exclaimed.
Mr Stewart says executives need to be accountable for their failings.
"Because this is not so much just a business, this is more like a business version of a soap opera.
You can't actually believe that sums like this with the products like this, that people who apparently are so well paid and apparently so bright that they can lose quite so much money," he said.
"That's our pension money that's in there and you've got people behaving as though they can rule the world when patently, they can't even run their own company let alone the world." Earnings hit The writedown will take a chunk out of Rio's annual earnings due out next month.
Back in November, Tom Albanese said that Rio Tinto was cutting costs as commodity prices fell and expenses rose.
"So I want to emphasise that efforts to reduce costs are aligned with efforts to keep businesses in business for not only years but decades going forward," he said at the time.
"Also, by the way, more cost efficient businesses have a greater ability to attract capital for further investment on a going forward basis." Iron ore boss, Australian Sam Walsh, has become the new chief executive.
Commodities analyst Jonathan Barratt runs Barratt's Bulletin and says Sam Walsh was a clear choice.
"When you look at his standing in the company, you look at obviously his experience which is obviously in the iron ore sector, when you look at the growth and expansion for Rio in that sector, then I think it is the logical choice," he said.
"I think if you've got good people in the company, and if you think Albanese has been at Rio for 30 years, I guess it is in the corporate structure that they like to promote within because there is that culture which they like, and I think it is not unexpected that would have been the case."