Drilling company Boart Longyear has appointed Rio Tinto executive Jeffrey Olsen as its new finance chief.

Mr Olsen, who is currently the chief commercial officer of Rio’s titanium business, will join the company on April 1.

His appointment as chief financial officer comes eight months after his predecessor, Joseph Ragan, left the business.  Boart Longyear shares were 2.5 cents, or 5.68 per cent, higher at 46.6 cents, at 1457 AEDT, following the announcement.

Chief executive Richard O’Brien said Mr Olsen’s experience would be an asset to the company as it works to improve its balance sheet and lift investor returns.

“His strong financial background and knowledge and understanding of the resources and mining industries, including his global experience in a broad range of senior financial and commercial roles with Rio Tinto, are a good fit for our company,” he said.

Boart Longyear is the world’s largest drilling business, providing mineral exploration drilling services and products, operates in more than 40 countries.

The company has suffered through a difficult 18 months due to declining investment in the mining sector