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Via Varejo Drops as CEO Quits Retailer After Eight Months

Via Varejo SA, the online unit of Brazil’s biggest retailer, tumbled the most on record after disclosing that Chief Executive Officer Francisco Valim quit after eight months in the role.

The shares lost 3.8 percent to 23 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo in the biggest one-day decline since the stock started trading in December. The Ibovespa slid 0.3 percent today.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company, which is controlled by Cia. Brasileira de Distribuicao Grupo Pao de Acucar, said in a regulatory filing April 17 that board member Libano Barroso replaced Valim as CEO. While the company didn’t give a reason for the change, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts said in a report today that the outgoing chief resigned for personal reasons.

“It may raise questions regarding a number of strategic discussions potentially taking place,” JPMorgan analysts led by Andrea Teixeira wrote in a research note to clients. The new CEO “holds no extensive retail track record, which may also raise concerns.”

JPMorgan didn’t change its rating on Via Varejo shares, currently the equivalent of buy, saying the fundamentals of the company remain sound. Via Varejo is also rated buy by the other analysts who cover it, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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