(Adds Nippon Steel comment in last 2 paragraphs)
SAO PAULO, April 6 (Reuters) - Usiminas elected Marcelo Gasparino chairman of its board late on Monday, one of the main shareholders said, in a win for minority stakeholders at the Brazilian steelmaker.
Gasparino, an attorney with experience on the boards of a number of Brazilian companies, was the only candidate for the position after a tussle between the majority shareholders, Luxembourg-based Ternium SA and Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, meant the controlling stakeholders did not put forward a candidate.
In a five-hour meeting, the assembly also elected Brazilian billionaire Lirio Parisotto to the board seat that represents minority shareholders, said a spokeswoman for Nippon Steel in Brazil.
The election of Gasparino and Parisotto potentially creates a new power bloc on the board of the steelmaker, with the two having worked extensively together in the past, particularly at energy company Celesc.
Parisotto beat off competition from Marco Antonio Bologna, ex-CEO of airline Tam, and Mauro Cunha, president of Brazil’s Association of Minority Shareholders (Amec).
Bologna had been put forward by Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual, while Cunha was the candidate for fund Tempo Capital for the position at Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, as the steel company is officially known.
Ternium and Nippon Steel have been at loggerheads since former Chief Executive Officer Julian Eguren, who had previously been at Ternium, was dismissed over allegations of misuse of funds in September.
Eguren denies all wrongdoing. Ternium demanded his reinstatement, but Nippon Steel has refused.
A Nippon Steel spokesman in Tokyo said it understood that Usiminas’s daily operations were run smoothly under CEO Romel Erwin de Souza and it would continue to provide support.
“For stable growth at Usiminas under the new chairman, we will continue to fulfil our responsibilities as a major shareholder,” the spokesman said.
Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr and Stephen Eisenhammer in Rio de Janeiro, and Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO; Writing by Reese Ewing; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Alan Raybould