The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Vale’s corporate spokesman denied 10 days ago that John Pollesel’s head was on the chopping block. But then, on Wednesday, the company confirmed the role of the Sudbury-born director of Vale’s Base Metals North Atlantic Operations was “no longer required.”
Vale spokesman Cory McPhee told The Star on Oct. 21 there was no truth to a widely circulating rumour that Pollesel was being cut by the company.
Wednesday, Vale’s Sudbury spokeswoman, Angie Robson, said base metals at Vale “is in the process of a business-wide review to address some significant short-term challenges.
“Part of that effort involves reshaping and restructuring the business to position ourselves for long-term success and sustainability,” she said.
Vale’s parent company, Vale SA, has said of late, it is determined to ensure all operations are self-sustaining, prompting decisions such as winding down production at the 100-year-old Frood Mine.
One of the steps in Vale’s restructuring process, said Robson, “is to build an organization model that sees site-specific leads at each of our major operating sites in Canada — reporting directly to the global headquarters for Base Metals in Toronto.”
Pollesel, a former executive at Falconbridge, led Vale through a tough year from July 2009-10 when 3,000 production and maintenance workers with United Steelworkers Local 6500 in Sudbury and Local 6100 in Port Colborne struck the company.
Not surprisingly, top USW officials weren’t expressing any regret at hearing Pollesel was no longer heading the company.
Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand asked management Tuesday about Pollesel’s future with the company, given he hadn’t seen him much in recent weeks. He was told Pollesel was still on the job
Wednesday, Bertrand was told Pollesel was gone.
“They never say (managers) are fired,” said Bertrand. “They say he was let go.”
But Bertrand sees Pollesel as “the last piece of the puzzle” in getting rid of Vale’s top executives in recent months. First, it was Vale chief executive Roger Agnelli who left the company in the spring of 2011. Then it was Tito Martins, the head of base metals before Pollesel, who left to become chief financial officer for Vale but quit and moved on in July 2012.
The last of the three executives at whom striking Steelworkers vented their spleen during the strike is now gone with Pollesel.
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