Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques will step down after the mining giant's handling of the Juukan Gorge scandal.
Chris Salisbury, chief executive of iron ore and Simone Niven, group executive, corporate relations - also succumbed to investor pressure, and have stepped down with immediate effect, both leaving the company on December 31, 2020.
Jacques will remain in his role until a successor is found or March 31, 2021, whichever is earlier.
Rio Tinto has faced scrutiny over its decision to blow up caves in the Western Australia Pilbara region in May, which were highly significant to the traditional landowners.
Rio Tinto said "significant stakeholders have expressed concerns about executive accountability for the failings identified" in the company's Board Review of Cultural Heritage Management
of the destruction of the Juukan rockshelters.
Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said: "What happened at Juukan was wrong and we are determined to ensure that the destruction of a heritage site of such exceptional archaeological and cultural significance never occurs again at a Rio Tinto operation.
"We are also determined to regain the trust of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people and other traditional owners. We have listened to our stakeholders' concerns that a lack of individual accountability undermines the group's ability to rebuild that trust and to move forward to implement the changes identified in the board review."
Thompson said Rio Tinto was determined to learn the lessons from the Juukan destruction.
"I would like to thank J-S for his strong leadership of the group since becoming chief executive in 2016. During that time, he has led the best safety performance in Rio Tinto's history, simplified the portfolio, divested the group's coal assets, established a clear strategy to address climate change and generated exceptional shareholder returns. His leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, has been exemplary.
"I would also like to thank Chris and Simone for the contribution both have made to the success of Rio Tinto over many years. I know that all three individuals, like the rest of the Board, deeply regret the destruction of the Juukan rockshelters.
"I am grateful to Simon for agreeing to assume the new senior independent director role of Rio Tinto Limited. He is committed, as I am, to enhancing the board's engagement in Australia and working with stakeholders to deliver the changes set out in the board review."