REVIEW OF 2011: Vale takes prudent stance under Ferreira leadership

Dec 29, 2011 | 11:28 AM |

For Vale, the world's largest iron ore producer and its second largest miner, 2011 marked a year of major change. After ten successful years as head of the Brazilian miner, Roger Agnelli was replaced in May by Murilo Ferreira, a former ceo of Vale’s nickel operation in Canada and a former executive director of nickel and base metals sales. Agnelli's management style was widely credited as one of the reasons for Vale boosting its financial results over the past decade on the back of China’s ever-growing appetite for iron ore. In 2001, when he took office, Vale’s revenues reached 11 billion reais ($4.7 billion at that time), with net profit of 3 billion reais ($1.3 billion). In 2010, both revenues and profit reached all-time highs of $46.5 billion and $17.3 billion respectively. Export revenues jumped from $3.2 to $29 billion over the same period, with iron ore sales rising to 255 million tonnes from 110 million tonnes. Some of Agnelli’s greatest achievements included the huge increase in iron ore production and the ambitious acquisition of Inco in 2006, which made Vale one of the world’s largest producers of nickel. He also had the idea of developing Vale’s own fleet of vessels to ship iron ore, especially to China, in an effort to reduce exposure to high freight costs. But Agnelli clashed with Brazil’s former president, Lula da Silva, during the recession in 2008 and 2009. Lula da Silva criticised Vale for having fired 1,300 employees in December 2008 on....

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