Vale Ltd. CEO Fábio Schvartsman and three of the company’s senior executives have stepped down one month following the collapse of a tailings dam in Brazil that killed 186 people.
In a March 2 statement, the Brazilian mining company said Schvartsman, along with Gerd Peter Poppinga, executive director of ferrous and coal; Lucio Flavio Gallon Cavalli, head of planning and development of ferrous and coal; and Silmar Magalhães Silva, head of operations of the southeast corridor, requested “temporary removal from office,” which the company accepted.
Vale said the move came at the joint recommendation of Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecution Office, the Public Prosecution Office of the State of Minas Gerais, the Federal Police, and the Civil Police of Minas Gerais.
Eduardo de Salles Bartolomeo, who is currently executive director of base metals, has been appointed as interim CEO, effective immediately.
The company said Bartolomeo would “maintain an open and transparent dialogue with the various stakeholders of the company.”
“The choice of Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale's most experienced executive director and with a solid career inside and outside the company, followed the company's succession process in accordance to the interim succession plan previously discussed by the board of directors,” Vale said in a statement.
“The choice is aligned with the goal of bringing a senior executive to ensure stability to Vale's operations, continuity of the indemnification process, repair and mitigation of the effects of the rupture of Dam I of the Córrego do Feijão mine."
Claudio de Oliveira Alves, current head of pellet and manganese, will hold the interim position of executive director of ferrous and coal, and Mark Travers, head of legal, institutional relations and sustainability of base metals, will hold the interim position of executive director of base metals.
“Vale also informs that its board of directors remains in readiness to seek a transparent and productive relationship with the Brazilian authorities in order to clarify the facts, to properly remediate the damages and to maintain the company's integrity, and that will keep society and markets informed about any new fact,” Vale said in its statement.
On Jan. 25, the company’s tailings dam at the Córrego do Feijão Mine in the city of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, collapsed, flooding the immediate area with mud and killing at least 186 people.
It’s the company’s second dam failure in four years. In 2015, the failure of an iron ore dam owned by Samarco, a joint venture between Vale and BHP Billiton, destroyed a village and killed 19 people.