Belmiro de Azevedo, Portugal’s second richest man, steps aside

Aged 77, Belmiro de Azevedo – the head of Sonae and as such Portugal’s second richest man – is due to announce his ‘retirement’ from the corporation he joined 50 years ago. But, newspapers stress, the self-made son of a carpenter and a seamstress shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, whatever he is planning, he “is not going to be quiet” and “the country will be the richer”, a source from Sonae told Público.

Could this mean the businessman, whose diverse interests have included supermarkets, hotels, technology, real estate and, more recently, the media, has set his sights on a bid for the presidency?

As Público – the daily newspaper he owns – points out, for now we can only speculate.

The only certainty is that “Efanor Investments, the society through which Belmiro exerts control of Sonae, will not be putting his name forward for the next administration”.

“With Belmiro leaving his position… Efanor will propose that his son takes his place,” Público continues.

Paulo Azevedo is already co-CEO of the corporation and boss of Sonaecom (Público’s owner) and, according to Dinheiro Vivo website, his super-rich father – one of the three Portuguese on Forbes’ rich list – wants him for the job.

More updates are expected to follow tomorrow (Wednesday) – when Sonae (Sociedade Nacional de Aglomerados e Estratificados) celebrates the half-century since its leader started work as a 29-year-old investigator.

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