Abílio Diniz

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Abílio dos Santos Diniz
Born (1936-12-28) December 28, 1936 (age 77)
Residence São Paulo, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Ethnicity Portuguese Brazilian[1]
Alma mater Fundação Getúlio Vargas
Columbia University
University of Dayton[2]
Occupation Chairman of BRF
Net worth Increase US$ 3.9 billion (2014)
Religion Roman Catholic[3]
Children 6

Abílio dos Santos Diniz (born December 28, 1936, in São Paulo) a Brazilian businessman. He is the former chairman of the Brazilian retail chain Grupo Pão de Açúcar (Companhia Brasileira de Distribuiçao), and victim of a famous kidnapping. Abílio Diniz is the father of former Formula One driver Pedro Diniz, whose career was largely funded by his father's personal wealth and sponsorship connections. Abílio also competed as a racecar driver in his youth and won the 1970 Mil Milhas Brasil with his brother, Alcides. Diniz is currently the chairman of BRF.

Through GPA, Diniz became one of the wealthiest individuals in Brazil. In 2014, Forbes ranked him 609th richest person in the world and 20th in Brazil with a personal net worth of $3.9 billion, up from $3.7 billion last year.[4]


Diniz's father, Valentim Diniz, founded the company Pão de Açúcar, which grew into a major retailer, Companhia Brasileira de Distribuiçao. In 2002, Diniz sold a large stake to the French company Casino Group for an estimated $860 million and stepped down as CEO, but remained as chairman. In 2009, in one of the most expensive transactions of the Brazilian business history, Grupo Pão de Açúcar bought Casas Bahia from Samuel Klein, giving Abilio control of Pão de Açúcar, Casas Bahia, Ponto Frio and Extra Hipermercados.[5][6] In 2012, Casino Group took control of Grupo Pão de Açúcar, and Diniz no longer had operational functions within the group but remained as chairman.[7]

In April 2013, Diniz was elected as chairman of BRF,[8] and in September, he has stepped down as chairman of GPA.[9]


In December 1989, Diniz was the victim of a sensational political kidnapping, followed by a police rescue. He was confined for six days in a small space under a house, with a duct leading to the kitchen fan as his only source of oxygen.

The kidnapping took place in the morning of the Brazilian presidential elections in Brazil in 1989.

The candidates were Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, founding member of the Brazilian Worker's Party (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores), and Fernando Collor de Mello, the right wing party candidate running for a newly formed National Republican Party (PRN).

The kidnappers called themselves members of a left-wing group. Collor was backed by the richest man in Alagoas, senator João Lyra, who reportedly gave about $16 million to help elect Collor.

The kidnapping is recognized as an act of sabotage [10] of the elections, having been executed on election day and associating the act with the political left wing. As all political parties were under a communication media embargo (television, radio or newspapers) in the days prior to election day, Lula's party had no opportunity to clarify or rebuke the accusations that their party (PT) was involved in the terrorist act.

As soon as the news of the kidnapping was aired, polls indicated a steady fall in votes for Lula. Fernando Collor de Mello won the elections and would later resign as his trial for corruption was about to begin, in a failed attempt to prevent his impeachment by the Brazilian Senate.

Among the kidnappers were Canadians David Spencer and Christine Lamont, who were students at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Lamont and Spencer denied any participation in the kidnapping but their participation was proved when a secret weapons cache in Managua exploded (among the material exposed by the explosion were documents that linked both Lamont and Spencer to the Diniz kidnapping). Faced with these revelations, Lamont admitted that they had been involved in the kidnapping.[11]

Lamont and Spencer were sentenced to 28 years in prison for their involvement, but were kept in private cells, away from the mass of the prison population. The Canadian press and public started a major movement to secure their release, straining relations between Brazil and Canada. However, two Canadian investigative journalists, Isabel Vincent of the Globe and Mail and Caroline Mallan of the Toronto Star, wrote books concluding that Lamont and Spencer were likely guilty, and they were being treated well by Brazilian authorities. Lamont confessed to involvement in the kidnapping, which was meant to raise money for Sandinista guerrillas, and the two were released and deported to Canada in 1996.


  1. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://franquiaempresa.com/2010/01/biografia-do-empresario-abilio-diniz.html&ei=TL27T-PiNImC8AS03tC1Cg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CF8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://franquiaempresa.com/2010/01/biografia-do-empresario-abilio-diniz.html%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D584%26prmd%3Dimvns
  2. ^ "Management". BrFoods. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  3. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://abiliodiniz.uol.com.br/eu-abilio/biografia/&ei=XL27T6afBZGi8QTjvtyrCg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CF8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://abiliodiniz.uol.com.br/eu-abilio/biografia/%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D620%26prmd%3Dimvns
  4. ^ Abilio dos Santos Diniz. Forbes. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  5. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://www.estadao.com.br/noticias/economia,pao-de-acucar-compra-a-casas-bahia-por-meio-da-globex,476631,0.htm&ei=S_u7T_30JuXC6gHrq8mBDQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CFIQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.estadao.com.br/noticias/economia,pao-de-acucar-compra-a-casas-bahia-por-meio-da-globex,476631,0.htm%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D627%26prmd%3Dimvns
  6. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://epocanegocios.globo.com/Revista/Common/0,,EMI108574-16355,00-GRUPO%2BPAO%2BDE%2BACUCAR%2BCOMPRA%2BCASAS%2BBAHIA.html&ei=CPy7T5mbI4qZ6QHJr-yDCw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CE8Q7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://epocanegocios.globo.com/Revista/Common/0,,EMI108574-16355,00-GRUPO%252BPAO%252BDE%252BACUCAR%252BCOMPRA%252BCASAS%252BBAHIA.html%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D627%26prmd%3Dimvns
  7. ^ New era dawns at Pão de Açúcar, Casino takes helm, Reuters, June 22 2012
  8. ^ Kassai, Lucia (9 April 2013). "Brasil Foods Names Diniz Chairman to Lead Growth". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  9. ^ Cowley, Matthew & Winterstein, Paulo (6 September 2013). "Brazil Businessman Diniz to Step Down as Pão de Açucar Chairman". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  10. ^ Marilena Chauí (October 29, 2010). "Carta Maior: Um alerta, por Marilena Chauí" (in Portuguese). Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  11. ^ Isabel Vincent. No Evil: The Strange Case of Christine Lamont and David Spencer (May 1997 ed.). Reed International Books. p. 212. ISBN 0-433-39619-9. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Isabel Vincent, See no evil. Reed Books Canada, 1996.
  • Caroline Mallan, Wrong time, wrong place? Key Porter Books, 1996.

External links[edit]