* Secches helped engineer merger that created BR Foods
* Tycoon Abílio Diniz could succeed Secches as chairman
* Company spokesman declined to comment on Estado story
SAO PAULO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Nildemar Secches plans to step down as chairman of BRF Brasil Foods SA as early as Friday, newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported, without saying how it obtained the information.
Secches plans to communicate his decision to the board of the world’s biggest poultry exporter early on Friday, Estado said, adding that there is not an apparent successor picked yet. The newspaper said some minority shareholders are pressing for retail tycoon Abilio Diniz to become chairman.
Diniz has been buying shares of BR Foods, as the company is known, over the past few weeks and has so far amassed a 3.8 percent stake in the $19 billion company, according to Estado. Buyout firm Tarpon Investimentos SA and Previ, the pension fund owned by workers of Banco do Brasil SA, are among the BR Foods shareholders endorsing Diniz for chairman, the paper said.
A company spokesman told Reuters that a board meeting will take place on Friday but declined to detail the agenda. He also declined to comment on the veracity of the Estado report.
Secches, as chairman and chief executive of Perdigão SA, helped engineer the merger that created BR Foods in June 2009. At the time, Perdigão acquired debt-laden rival Sadia SA, which incurred over $1 billion in derivatives-related losses in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008.