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Vale Said to Consider Current Executive to Replace Agnelli

Controlling shareholders of Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore exporter, may replace Chief Executive Officer Roger Agnelli with an executive from within the company, said a person close to one of the investors.

The Brazilian government, one of the controlling shareholders of Rio de Janeiro-based Vale, is seeking to oust Agnelli because of disagreements over the pace of the company’s investments in Brazil, according to the person, who declined to be named because the talks aren’t public.

Rio de Janeiro-based newspaper O Globo columnist Ancelmo Gois reported today Agnelli will leave Vale. The company declined to comment on the report, after Agnelli had said earlier in the day that any decision on his future would be taken by the company’s controlling shareholders.

Brazilian newspapers reported earlier this week that President Dilma Rousseff’s government is asking shareholders, including the Previ pension fund and Banco Bradesco SA, to vote for a new CEO in a meeting next month. Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, criticized Vale when the company reduced investments in 2009 and he called for the miner to increase spending on steel production and fertilizers.

An official at Vale in Rio de Janeiro, who declined to be named citing corporate policy, said the company has no comment on the O Globo report. Officials at Bradesco, Previ and the Finance Ministry also declined to comment.

Shareholders Choice

“The choice for the chief executive of Vale is a decision that lies exclusively in the hands of the controlling shareholders,” Agnelli said today in an e-mailed statement. “I’m not involved in any political issue on this topic.”

Agnelli, 51, succeeded Jorio Dauster in July 2001, overseeing more than $86 billion in investments and acquisitions during his decade-long tenure as head of Brazil’s biggest exporter. During that time, Vale’s shares gained more than 10 times their value as iron-ore output and prices surged.

Newspaper Valor Economico said yesterday that the main shareholders may replace Agnelli with Tito Botelho Martins, head of Vale’s base metals unit, without saying where it got the information.

Vale dropped 2 centavos to 46.88 reais in Sao Paulo trading. The stock declined about 3.4 percent in the past year, compared with a 1.3 percent decline for Brazil’s Benchmark Bovespa Index.

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