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                                                                          Claudia Sender and Jerome Cadier

SAO PAULO, March 22 (Reuters) – LATAM Airlines Group SA , the biggest carrier in South America, on Wednesday named a new chief executive of its shrinking operation in Brazil, where a deep recession has battered profitability in recent years.

Brazilian Jerome Cadier, currently senior vice president of marketing for the Chile-based airline group, will take over LATAM’s operations in Brazil starting on May 1, the company said in a statement.

The unit’s current CEO, Claudia Sender, has been in charge since 2013, about a year after the Brazilian airline then known as TAM merged with Chile’s LAN. She will keep the title of president of LATAM Brasil and assume responsibilities for marketing, services and client experience for the larger group.

LATAM slashed capacity in Brazil by nearly 12 percent last year and could cut up to 2 percent again in 2017, the company said last week. Yet the group’s CEO Enrique Cueto told Reuters on Monday he expected the Brazilian market to recover in the second half of the year.

(Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Bernard Orr)