Stausholm has been chief financial officer and an executive director of the group since 2018 and he will now succeed J-S Jacques who will leave the company on March 31 2021.
Simon Thompson, Rio chairman, in a statement, said: "Jakob has already made a significant contribution to the performance of the Group in his role as Chief Financial Officer.
“He has a proven track record as a senior executive with deep industrial and resources experience spanning strategy development and technology, as well as financial and risk management. He has also demonstrated the ability to build effective relationships and has a strong personal commitment to the role of business in promoting sustainable development."
Stausholm, meanwhile, commented: "Rio Tinto's purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress and I remain deeply committed to this after the difficult times we have faced during 2020.
“I look forward to leading Rio Tinto and working with my colleagues across the business to ensure that we maintain strong safety, operational and financial performance, while progressing our growth, sustainability and technology strategies.
“I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company."