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Vale Marketing Head Gutemberg Leaves Amid China Price Talks

Vale SA Global Marketing Director Pedro Gutemberg is leaving his post as the world’s largest iron-ore producer negotiates pricing with Chinese customers, becoming at least the sixth top manager to depart since Murilo Ferreira took over as chief executive officer in May.

Gutemberg will be replaced by Claudio Alves, currently global director for strategy at the Rio de Janeiro-based company, an official at Vale’s press office said yesterday by telephone, declining to be named because of corporate policy. The official declined to provide further details.

Vale is in a “lot of negotiations” on pricing as some customers seek to switch to spot pricing from quarterly contracts, Jose Carlos Martins, executive officer for marketing, sales and strategy, said on Oct. 27. Most of the company’s Chinese customers, who bought 45 percent of its iron-ore and pellet shipments in the third quarter, prefer to price the raw material based on the spot market, Martins said.

Since CEO Ferreira took over from Roger Agnelli on May 22, Vania Somavilla was named executive officer of human resources and corporate services, replacing Carla Grasso and Global Coal Director Decio Amaral resigned in August.

Vale also named Clovis Torres as the company’s general counsel, replacing Fabio Spina. Energy Director Almir Resende also left. Anglo American Plc appointed Tracey Kerr, a Vale director of exploration for the Americas, as head of exploration in August.

Dropping Prices

Iron-ore prices for immediate delivery fell about 31 percent during October and reached their lowest level in almost two years on Oct. 28 because of China’s credit tightening and slowing steel demand from builders and automakers. They gained 1.9 percent to $122.70 a ton yesterday, its fourth consecutive increase, according to The Steel Index Ltd.

Vale attributed the decline to tighter credit in China and a seasonal oversupply in Brazil and Australia, in an Oct. 26 earnings report. The company said it expects prices to rebound and “remain high for a long period ahead.”

Vale rose 3.2 percent to 41.70 reais in Sao Paulo yesterday, its highest level since Sept. 21, trimming the decline from the beginning of the year to 14 percent.

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