Wizard leaves Health Ministry, before even joining

Wizard leaves Brazilian Health Ministry, before even joining
President Jair Bolsonaro and Carlos Wizard. Photo: Div.

Billionaire Carlos Wizard, owner of brands such as KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut in Brazil, resigned from his position as an unpaid advisor to the Health Ministry. He was set to take office as Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Resources — but left the government before his nomination could even be inked.

Mr. Wizard’s nomination faced backlash after he accused state governors of inflating Covid-19 death numbers — in order to receive more federal funds and make President Jair Bolsonaro look bad. He declared that the government was keen on recounting the number of deaths in order to “set the record straight.” While condemned by the scientific community, the billionaire’s words are in line with recent actions from the federal government to reduce data transparency.

Working with refugees

Founder of an English school sold to the British Pearson group for BRL 2 billion, Mr. Wizard currently runs the Sforza Group — a holding company that has major fast-food chains under its umbrella. A fervent Christian, he took a sabbatical last year to volunteer in helping Venezuelan refugees in Brazil’s northernmost state of Roraima. 

Thanks to partnerships with airlines and charity organizations, he and his wife, Vânia Martins, helped over 12,000 people settle in the South and Southeast regions of the country. When asked to join the government, the businessman called it “a continuation of [his] volunteer work,” but his time in the administration was short-lived.

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