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Vale CEO to keep job through 2024 as miner seeks successor

11th March 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Vale CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo will retain his job through December while one of the world’s biggest mining companies conducts a search for a successor, according to people familiar with the matter.

The outcome follows weeks of drama over the selection of Vale’s next leader amid mounting pressure from the Brazilian government to intervene in the succession process. The wrangling has put a spotlight on the government’s influence in the mining sector, even though the metals producer was privatized in 1997.

After Bartolomeo hands over the reins, he will serve as an adviser through 2025, one of the people said. The board decision was not unanimous, with two directors in opposition, two of the people said.

Bartolomeo, who took the top job five years ago, publicly declared his wish in early December to remain CEO after his current term ends in May.

The 59-year-old CEO spent his tenure focused on recovering Vale’s reputation among investors concerned about environment, social and governance issues. He sought to reduce risks tied to storage of mining waste following two tailings dam disasters in 2015 and 2019. Bartolomeo also shed non-core businesses and turned the base metals operations into a separate business to unlock value from Vale’s nickel and copper assets.

The market has recognized Bartolomeo’s legacy on safety, including a plan to eliminate dozens of high-risk tailings dams and a $7.6 billion settlement over the Brumadinho dam collapse in southeastern Brazil. On the flip side, investors have been concerned about operational performance and costs control, along with the perception that Vale could better navigate relations with states and the federal government.

Vale could play a strategic role in efforts by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to reboot Brazil’s economy. For the metal producer, government support could help cut through bureaucracy on issue such as environmental permits and railroad concessions that have hobbled the company’s ambitions.

Vale’s succession policy says that an international consultancy firm with expertise in selecting global executives should be hired. The next CEO of the Rio de Janeiro-based company would be tapped from three shortlisted candidates selected by the consultancy.

Edited by Bloomberg

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