Vale's board advised to consider outside candidates in search for next CEO

5th February 2024 By: Bloomberg

Vale should consider external candidates for the top job when CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo’s term ends in May, an external consultancy told the board of the global mining giant.

The recommendation was part of a report submitted Friday to Vale’s board, which has been weighing whether to renew Bartolomeo’s term as CEO or start a worldwide recruitment process, according to people familiar with the matter. A Vale spokesperson declined to comment.

Bartolomeo, 59, was evaluated by the consultancy as highly qualified to keep the CEO position, but a recruitment process would support a final decision since there isn’t consensus among board members on renewing his term, the people said. Bartolomeo should be part of a shortlist of candidates if the board decides to run a competitive process, the people said.

The appointment for Vale’s top job is a test for Latin America’s third-most valuable company, and comes 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.

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 Vale’s operational performance and costs control, along with the perception that the Rio de Janeiro-based company could better navigate relations with states and the federal government.