Feb 24 Vale SA has stepped up the search for a new chief executive officer as Murilo Ferreira announced his departure, signaling efforts by some top shareholders to shield the world’s No. 1 iron producer from political interference, three people with direct knowledge of the situation said on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said Ferreira will step down as CEO when his term expires on May 26. In a securities filing, Vale did not name a potential replacement for Ferreira or provide details as to how a transition will occur.
Some of Vale’s controlling shareholders lean towards picking one of Ferreira’s lieutenants to spearhead Vale’s transition into a company with dispersed share ownership, the people said. External candidates with previous experience at Vale are also under consideration, the people added.
Potential candidates include Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani; ferrous metals director Peter Poppinga; and Clovis Torres, Ferreira’s right-hand man and currently Vale’s executive vice president for human resources.
Nelson Silva, a former Vale executive who is now chief strategy officer at state-controlled oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA is on the list, the people said. Other outsiders include former Vale executives Jose Carlos Martins and Tito Martins, one of the people added.
The choice of Vale’s top commander is crucial to ensuring the success of a plan that will phase out a 20-year controlling shareholder pact and merge Vale’s different classes of stock into a single one.
During a conference call to discuss the announcement, Ferreira gave no hint about who would succeed him.
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