Roger Agnelli

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Brazilian ex-mining executive Roger Agnelli killed in plane crash

A plane crash in Brazil has killed seven people including a former top executive of Brazilian mining giant Vale. Investigators are searching for the cause of the fatal accident that also injured a woman on the ground.
Brasilien Flugzeugabsturz in Sao Paulo

Authorities said that Roger Agnelli, the Brazilian banker who turned Vale SA into the world's leading iron ore producer, was killed in a Saturday crash that also killed his wife, two children, their spouses and the pilot. A woman on the ground was also reportedly injured.

Authorities gave no reason why Agnelli's Comp Air 9 turboprop airplane slammed into two houses around 3:20 p.m. local time (1820 UTC) Saturday shortly after takeoff from Campo de Marte airport in northern São Paulo.

Media reports said 56-year-old Agnelli was traveling to a wedding ceremony in Rio de Janeiro in clear weather.

Known as a strong personality, he reinforced a culture of meritocracy that helped make the company Brazil's top exporter - transforming it from a relatively inefficient state enterprise to a lean corporate powerhouse.

"I get paid to produce results, and the results are there, aren't they?" Agnelli told Valor Econômico newspaper in an interview in 2010.

That won him the respect of other business leaders.

"He was a visionary that corporate Brazil will miss badly," said Lawrence Pih, former chief of the flour mill Grupo Pacífico SA, who sat on the board at the São Paulo Federation of Industries with Agnelli.

Clashed with political leaders
Roger Agnelli

Roger Agnelli clinched Vale's top job in July 2001 after 19 years as an investment banker with Banco Bradesco SA, one of Vale's controlling shareholders.

But his cut throat instincts also earned him powerful detractors. His legendary brash style irked many local officials, labor leaders and powerful national leaders.

He resisted Brazil's ruling Workers' Party which wanted Vale to shift from exporting raw minerals to more value-added products such as steel and fertilizers to stimulate employment.

Agnelli clashed with former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for firing 2,000 workers in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008. Months later, he accused members of Lula's left-leaning party of trying to install loyalists at Vale and seek a bigger say in key decisions.

Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, stepped up pressure on Agnelli and suceeded in pushing him out in May 2011, just months after she took office.

Following his departure from Vale, Agnelli founded AGN Participações Ltda and teamed up with Grupo BTG Pactual SA in a joint mining venture.

One of World's Best-Performing CEOs Dead in Plane Crash
'Iron Man' Roger Agnelli, banker turned mining magnate, dies with wife, 2 kids, 3 others
By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2016 11:03 AM CDT
38 comments Comments
In this Oct. 7, 2009, file photo, Roger Agnelli, then CEO of Vale, speaks at the World Business Forum in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – "We have lost a Brazilian of extraordinary entrepreneurial vision," Dilma Rousseff, the country's president, said in a statement Sunday, per Reuters. Her mournful message announced the death of 56-year-old banker Roger Agnelli, who turned a Brazil mining company into the world's largest iron-ore producer and made it a major world player. The turboprop monoplane carrying Agnelli—who was traveling from Sao Paulo to a wedding in Rio with his wife, two grown kids, and their spouses—crashed into two homes shortly after an afternoon takeoff in clear weather, killing all six plus the pilot. Deutsche Welle reports a woman on the ground was also injured. Vale SA, the company Agnelli helped propel to the top of its game, said in its own statement that it was filled with "immense sadness."

Nicknamed "Iron Man," Agnelli—who took over Vale's helm in 2001 after spending most of his career in banking—was renowned for his tough negotiations, what Deutsche Welle calls "cutthroat instincts," and for bringing Vale into Asian markets, particularly China, the New York Times reports. Under his watch, he propelled Vale to become the second largest mining company on Earth, and the largest iron-ore producer—increasing the company's value from $8 billion to a staggering $150 billion in just seven years, per a book on Latin America's "emerging multinationals." He had even catapulted onto a 2013 Harvard Business Review list of the best-performing CEOs in the world, appearing in the top five alongside the likes of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. But Agnelli clashed with then President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva over the number of workers Agnelli had fired during the Great Recession, and things didn't get better under Rousseff, who ultimately forced Agnelli out of Vale in 2011. (This in the midst of a crazy political crisis in Brazil.)

Roger Agnelli (May 3, 1959 – March 19, 2016) was a Brazilian entrepreneur, banker, and corporate leader who ran one of the largest mining companies in the world, Vale SA, and in 2013 was voted by Harvard Business Review as the world’s fourth best-performing chief executive officer[1] behind Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos of and Yun Jong-Yong of Samsung. His clashes with Brazil's ruling Workers Party leadership, that began with the Financial crisis of 2007–08 and his firing of 2,000 workers, led to his ouster from Vale SA at the government's request in 2011. On March 19, 2016, he was killed, along with his wife, son, and daughter (and three others) when their plane crashed in São Paulo, Brazil.

Agnelli was born May 3, 1959 in São Paulo, Brazil, hailing from a lower-middle-class family of Italian origin[2] (unrelated to the Agnellis who founded and ran Fiat) and in 1981 graduated with a degree in economics from Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (commonly referred to as FAAP).

He was married to Andréia and they had two children, daughter Ana Carolina and son João.

Business career[edit]From 1981–1997, Agnelli held various positions at Banco Bradesco and became its Executive Director in 1998, the position he held until his leaving the bank in 2000.[3]

From 2000–2001, Agnelli was the President and CEO of the Brazilian holding company Bradespar that was founded by Banco Bradesco in order to allow the bank to spin off some of its industrial investments.[3]

Also from 2000–2001, Agnelli was the Chairman of the Board of Directors Vale SA, where, in 2001, he was named its President and CEO, the position he held until his ouster in 2011.[3]

From 2012 to his 2016 death, Agnelli was the Founding Partner and CEO of the private Brazilian holding group AGN Holding that had been formerly known as Companhia Vale do Rio Doce.[3]