The rotating cast of characters at the top of the Vale Manitoba Operations food chain since the departure of Mark Scott in 2018 underwent another alteration April 27 as general manager Franco Cazzola has departed the company after a little more than a year in his position.
Cazzola, who was previously the manager of the Copper Cliff Mine and the Copper Cliff nickel refinery in Sudbury, was announced in early February 2020 as the replacement for Gary Eyres, who had been in charge of Manitoba Operations since March 2019. Prior to Eyres, Alistair Ross and Mike McCann were the Manitoba Operations heads following Scott leaving the company in July 2018.
Also no longer employed by Vale are Lyle Safronetz, Ken Chaput and Kurt Hepp. Safronetz had worked for Vale since 2000, including more than 10 years over two stints in Thompson, according to his LinkedIn profile, and was the manager of health, safety and risk since February 2020. Kurt Hepp worked for Vale since 1987, the entire time in Thompson, and had been the external resources manager since last September, according to his LinkedIn page. Ken Chaput was the T3 maintenance manager.
“All of these individuals have made significant contributions to Vale during their tenure, and we wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavours,” said Tara Ritchie of Manitoba Operations corporate and Indigenous affairs in an email responding to a Thompson Citizen inquiry regarding the management chance.
Stacy Kennedy, who had been manager of operations support in Thompson, has been named interim general manager for Thompson preparations.
“Stacy … brings a wealth of operational and leadership expertise to the role,” said Ritchie. “We look forward to seeing continued superior performance in terms of safety and productivity from the Thompson team under Stacy’s leadership.”
Kennedy was previously the interim manager of Thompson mines from early 2019 until Eyres became the head of Manitoba Operations in March of that year. She has worked for Manitoba Operations since 2007 in various roles including Birchtree Mine and T1 chief geologist.
The change at the top comes in the last year of Vale’s current grant-in-lieu of property taxes agreement with the City of Thompson, which has been in place since 2018. Over that time, the amount Vale pays has dropped from $4.8 million to $3 million to this year. In the previous agreement before that, Vale gave the city $6 million a year.