New Varig CEO
Former telecom executive Henrique Neves has taken the helm at Latin America's largest airline. CEO Carlos Luiz Martins, who had guided Varig since August 2003, and Finance Director Luiz Fernando Wellisch announced their departures in early May following the election of a new board at the airline, which closed last year with debt of $2.2 billion. The Brazilian carrier has lost domestic market share to TAM and low-cost airline Gol, and the government, which is Varig's biggest creditor, announced earlier this year that it would not bail it out. Neves is ex-president of regional telephone company Brasil Telecom and a one-time director at Shell Brazil. Varig's new chairman is David Sylbersztajn, a former head of Brazil's oil regulatory entity, the National Petroleum Agency. He replaced Joaquim Fernandes dos Santos, who left after 50 years with the airline.
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