Roger Agnelli, who reshaped miner Vale, dies in plane crash

[RIO DE JANEIRO] Roger Agnelli, who presided over an unprecedented decade of growth during the commodities boom that turned Brazilian mining company Vale SA into the world's second-largest, has died. He was 56.

Vale confirmed Mr Agnelli's death on Sunday, a day after he and six others - including his wife, son and daughter - were killed in a Sao Paulo plane crash. His single-engine turboprop came down in a residential neighborhood about three minutes after leaving Campo de Marte airport en route to Rio de Janeiro, according to Brazil's civil aviation agency and local media reports.

Mr Agnelli was president and chief executive officer at Vale - and the same company under its prior name Cia. Vale do Rio Doce - for a decade through 2011 during the period in which iron ore prices spiked. He led the company to an investment-grade rating, oversaw more than US$84 billion in investments and acquisitions, and distributed US$17 billion in dividends.

Brazil lost a citizen with "extraordinary entrepreneurial vision," who was always "committed to the development of the country," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement.

The Harvard Business Review named Mr Agnelli the world's fourth-best CEO for 2012, trailing Apple Inc's Steve Jobs, Inc's Jeff Bezos, and Samsung Electronics Co's Yun Jong Yong. The magazine cited an industry-adjusted shareholder return of 1,773 per cent during his tenure at Vale and a US$157 billion increase in the company's market capitalization.

During Mr Agnelli's tenure, Vale became "the world's top iron-ore producer and the second-biggest miner," the company's press office said in an e-mail Sunday. He helped the miner to "intensify its global expansion strategy, which led Vale to a new level in the global market." Rio Tinto Plc, based in London, is the top mining company by market value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mr Agnelli also clashed with the government over demands he spend more on steelmaking and over how many local workers were fired when Latin America's largest economy entered recession in 2009. He left Vale in 2011 to found AGN Participacoes, which markets iron, copper and other ores to South American manufacturers.


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