When the Rio Tinto Frankfurt office opened in the mid-1960s, it was the company’s gateway to the European market—and one of the company’s first sales offices. Rio Tinto acquired U.S. Borax shortly thereafter in 1967. And our operations throughout Spain, France, and the Netherlands began to work closely with sales teams in Germany.
Given the complexities of European regulations and the variety of work cultures in the region, maintaining regular contact with our partners and customers is key to our continued success. Having a central sales and customer service office is just one way we support this vital market.
Jurgen Vandoren, superintendent of our customer service team in Europe, has been with the company for 12 years. He says, “Frankfurt was a strategic choice given Germany’s long-standing reputation as the European Union’s export and economic powerhouse. The country has been a historic leader in areas such as manufacturing and automotive. It is also strategically located such that our team can be nimble, meeting customers in the region.”
A History of Change
The Frankfurt office has evolved in the 50+ years it has been open. In the early days, it was an all-male team in suits and ties.
Rio Tinto announced that Frankfurt would officially become the company’s Europe commercial headquarters in 2018. The change meant an increase in staff and the addition of new roles. Now, the office is home to a diverse team of nationalities and cultures. And the office currently has more women than men.
Even with recent expansions, the majority of our Frankfurt employees have worked together for a long time and the office has a tight-knit culture. “When it was safe to do so post-pandemic, we voluntarily came back to the office before back-to-office arrangements were implemented from global management,” says Jurgen. “We felt it was important as we had new joiners that we wanted to properly integrate into the team.”
Looking Toward the Future
Today, Rio Tinto’s European customers span various industries and materials, from aluminium, steel, glass, and powder to producers of renewable energy solutions and automotive manufacturers. U.S. Borax team members continue our close collaboration with other materials across our parent organization.
One thing is for certain: Europe is a driving force for the green economy and our borates continue to support the development of renewable infrastructure including wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries. Frankfurt will play a pivotal role in helping our customers and driving growth.
For more information about how our European office and operations can support your initiatives, please contact your regional representative.