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By Brad Haynes
SAO PAULO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA on Thursday tapped Michael Amalfitano to lead its struggling business jet division, turning for the second time in a year to a leasing industry veteran for a senior leadership post.
Amalfitano, who ran aircraft leasing for Stonebriar Commercial Finance and Banc of America Leasing, will replace Marco Tulio Pellegrini, a longtime Embraer executive with an engineering background who took over the division in 2014, according to a securities filing.
The hiring of Amalfitano underscores that after investing heavily to develop a new executive jet lineup over the past decade, the company's focus is squarely on sales and marketing to turn a profit with the money-losing division.
In June, Embraer promoted John Slattery from head of commercial jet sales to head of that division. He joined Embraer in 2011 after 15 years in commercial aircraft leasing.
Chief Executive Paulo Cesar Silva pledged last year to reverse an operating loss in the executive jet division by cutting costs and ending aggressive discounts, aiming to boost profit margins even if that means lower revenue this year.
Pellegrini will assume another leadership position to be announced shortly, Embraer said in its Thursday filing. (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)