Downey, a former chief executive officer of billionaire Eike Batista’s iron-ore producer MMX Mineracao & Metalicos SA (MMXM3), replaces Eduardo Bartolomeo, the Rio de Janeiro-based company said in a statement today, without elaborating.
Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira reshuffled the company’s management in November, replacing three executive directors. Bartolomeo, who at the time was leading Vale’s integrated bulk operations, was then named executive director for Fertilizers and Coal.
Downey will oversee the $5.9 billion Rio Colorado potash project in the Argentine province of Mendoza, which Vale is reviewing. Ferreira announced the revision on an April 26 conference call, saying the company is “very concerned” about the political situation in the neighboring country. Argentina seized oil producer YPF SA (YPFD) on April 16.
A former director of equity research at Credit Suisse Group AG, Downey was CEO of Rio-based MMX until October, when he resigned citing personal reasons. He had a previous stint at Vale in 2005 as manager for strategic marketing of iron ore.
Vale rose 0.8 percent to 41.80 reais at the close in Sao Paulo. The stock has gained about 11 percent this year, compared with the 10 percent increase in the Brazilian benchmark Bovespa index.
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