Theresia OttTheresia Ott PhD

South Africa


Occupational Information

Job Title: Chief Advisor, Nature Solutions. Rio Tinto

Professional History

Dr Theresia Ott is an accomplished sustainability leader. She relishes opportunities to apply her lateral thinking and problem-solving skills to the intersection of socio-economic and environmental challenges currently faced globally. With a doctorate in Natural Sciences and experience in both the civil society and business sides of environmental and natural resources management, Theresia is recognised as a values-driven expert in her field. As a respected business voice, she is frequently invited to speak and engage on topics relating to sustainability, particularly biodiversity, land management, and natural resource use at a variety of international forums facilitated by civil society organisations. Theresia is now supporting the development of nature-based solutions at Rio Tinto, using her influence in a variety of internal and external forums to challenge business-as-usual for a more inclusive economy. Prior to this role, she was Head of Environment also at Rio Tinto and before that, Principal Advisor, Group Environment.


MSc and PhD in Zoology, University of Pretoria
BSc & BSc Honours Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University


2015 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

 Additional Tags: Zoology, Change Management, Natural Sciences, Civil Society, Environmental and Natural Resources Management


About AFLI




The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.