Tackling Ethics in the Mining Industry: Exequiel Rolón

March 22, 2019

Years ago, Exequiel Rolón visited the University of Arizona campus for his employer, Fresnillo, the world’s largest producer of silver and, while here, heard about something going on across campus that interested him. 

“At the very end of my visit someone told me that there was a professor at Eller developing strategies for companies to embed ethics in the culture of the organization. I was very excited about this because that’s a big part of my job,” Rolón says. 

Rolón, sustainability and community relations manager, has been with Fresnillo for six years. Based in Mexico, Fresnillo is the only Mexican company listed on the London Stock Exchange and was the first mining company to produce gold in Mexico. Rolón, who received his MBA from HEC Montreal, has had a very global career, having worked in Canada, Dominican Republic, Peru, Madagascar and the UK. 

Following his visit to the University of Arizona, Rolón connected with Paul Melendez, founder of the Center for Leadership Ethics, and the two discussed a partnership that could help Rolón further his mission,. “Paul helped us realize that we needed to engage our staff so that they could all become stewards of the ethics culture,” he says.

Fresnillo and the Eller College of Management’s Center for Leadership Ethics worked together to develop the Step Up culture, a solution for developing a culture of ethics. From the implementation of this project grew another kind of partnership between Rolón and the center.  

Rolón was invited to serve as a panelist at the annual Executive Ethics Symposium where he met Melendez for the first time face to face. “I think it was my first time doing a presentation in the U.S., so it was a great experience,” says Rolón. “I also got a chance to talk to the people on the advisory board and explore the possibility of serving as a member."

It turned out the advisory board for the Center for Leadership Ethics was a natural fit for Rolón, and he recognized that this partnership could bring a lot of value to his work at Fresnillo. “The board discusses which topics are to be prioritized for research so it’s a great opportunity to have contact with the research conducted at the university,” he says. “Also, having colleagues that are very active on ethics within their companies is a great resource for us.”

Rolón and the Center for Leadership Ethics have developed a mutually beneficial relationship that will continue to have a positive impact on leadership ethics and the mining industry. 

“It is essential for a mining company to have a good ethical performance,” says Rolón. “For us, it’s very strategic to have this program that invites ethics in the culture rather than just having thousands of pages in our code of conduct. We’re very lucky to have found the Center for Leadership Ethics.”