February 17, 2020 / 11:45 PM / in a month

Spanish supermarket chain Dia appoints new Brazil CEO to lead restructuring

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Spanish supermarket chain Dia (DIDA.MC) said on Monday it has appointed Marcelo Maia as chief executive of its Brazilian subsidiary to lead a restructuring process in Brazil, and as part of a broader global shakeup.

Maia will replace Marin Dokozic, who occupied the CEO position for about a year. It was not immediately clear if Dokozic will remain working for Dia in Brazil or abroad.

Dia Brasil has 900 brick-and-mortar stores across Brazil, most of them in rented locations, and closed around 300 underperforming stores last year, most of which were franchises.

“We don’t plan more closures for now,” Maia said at a news conference, adding the company plans to open new stores this year in regions where it already operates. He declined to provide numbers.

The company employs 6,800 people in the country.

Dia was bought in May 2019, when it was near-insolvent, by a Russian investment fund called LetterOne, led by Russian business magnate Mikhail Fridman.

Fridman recruited Maia in London, the new CEO said, in August of last year to work as an adviser to the Brazil operation.

Dia is under investigation for alleged accounting fraud under its previous management, both in Brazil and in its home-country Spain.

Maia declined to comment on the probe or to provide any forward-looking remarks, saying the parent company is in a quiet period before disclosing fourth-quarter results later this month.

He said the company aims to boost in-house brands as of the second half of 2020, but did not elaborate.

“I see a lot of potential in our own brands ... we’ll add a Brazilian flavor to our operations here,” Maia added.

Maia comes from a family with deep roots in retailing. His family founded retailing chain Lojas Maia based in the Northeastern state of Paraíba, which in 2010 was acquired by Magazine Luiza SA (MGLU3.SA).

Maia worked there for three years after the acquisition on integrating Lojas Maia to its new owner.

Reporting by Gabriela Mello in Sao Paulo; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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