Thriving on risk, Agnelli’s banking background pays off for CVRD

Dec 01, 2006 | 02:39 PM | Diana Kinch

The ease with which Cia. Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) put together $18 billion in financing to buy Inco Ltd., dramatically multiplying its existing $3-billion debt, shows the company is beloved by banks not only in Brazil, but internationally.

Part of this goodwill undoubtedly was inspired not only by the company but also by its charismatic chief executive officer, Roger Agnelli, himself a banker by training and profession and someone who manages to surround himself with bankers whenever it's appropriate.

Agnelli has always stood out, smiled, thrived on risk and challenges and seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself. "My favorite sport is work . . . I really like what I do. It's what I wanted to do ever since I was little. I like the company, the production, the equipment, the machines—all the engineering part," he said in an interview.

The son of a Brazilian wood merchant, Agnelli declined his father's invitation to work in the family business, deciding while he was studying economics in a São Paulo university that he needed "more risk." He was attracted to the stock market at a time when the Brazilian economy was far less stable and unpredictable than today.

In March 1981 he entered the investment department of Brazil's biggest bank, Banco Bradesco SA, São Paulo, working in portfolio administration, then bonds emissions, progressing to looking after companies' financial investments and eventually working himself up to the bank's treasury. His career with the bank spanned 20 years, until he joined Rio de Janeiro-based CVRD as president and chief executive officer in 2001.....

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