Castello Branco steps down as Vale IR head
Vale’s head of IR, Roberto Castello Branco, has announced that he will step down from his role at the Brazilian mining company in order to pursue other opportunities.
Castello Branco’s tenure at Vale was his first and only as an IRO, though the opportunity came on the back of his impressive academic background: after being awarded a PhD in economics in Brazil, he was made a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, before returning to his Brazilian alma mater as a professor.
Later in his career, Castello Branco served as director of the Central Bank of Brazil and held senior management positions at Brazilian commercial and investment banks.
‘I was already used to speaking to audiences and dealing with financial markets, so I already had some of the skills that are key to be a successful investor relations officer,’ Castello Branco reveals.
He oversaw a time of change at Vale, both in the domestic market and further afield. ‘I had to deal frequently with the skepticism of investors about China´s economy, in particular in Brazil and the US,’ Castello Branco explains. ‘Almost every year there was a very pessimistic call on the Chinese economy: China will have a hard landing, or China is the new Dubai, or a real estate bubble is going to burst in China.
‘I had to convince investors that these calls had a very low probability of materializing. As a matter of fact, I was right: the Chinese economy continued to grow at a fast pace and to demand huge volumes of minerals and metals, helping Vale to generate a powerful cash flow.’
Beyond that, he adds, the biggest challenge was to convince people who had no experience of capital markets that transparency and proper shareholder disclosure were of paramount importance.
After an illustrious career, Castello Branco is planning to enjoy the extra time afforded by stepping away from IR. ‘My future plans include retaining control over my time, with the flexibility to do what I really like to do: to study, to write about economics and to enjoy art and nature,’ he explains.
At the same time, he intends to offer his services as a consultant, eventually moving on to try his hand at lecturing students and businessmen – and even write a book.
‘I am not planning to retire but to continue to flourish,’ Castello Branco explains. ‘Flourishing comes from the experience of the new: new situations, new challenges and new ideas to develop and to share. That is my goal, to enjoy an active life and to pursue continuous improvement as a person.’