Bolsonaro picks new Petrobras leadership

new Petrobras leadership
Fuel inflation has generated a lot of pressure over Petrobras. Photo: Fernando Frazão/ABr

The Brazilian Mines and Energy Ministry announced on Thursday that President Jair Bolsonaro has picked José Mauro Ferreira Coelho, a former oil secretary at the department, to be the new chief executive officer at Petrobras, Brazil’s giant state-controlled oil and gas company. Marcio Weber will be named chairman of the board.

Mr. Coelho currently serves as chairman of the board at PPSA, a state company that manages contracts for the joint exploitation of deepwater pre-salt reserves. Mr. Weber is an engineer and is already a board member at Petrobras.

Petrobras will hold a shareholders’ meeting on April 13, at which the government hopes to see its nominations approved. 

Over the past few days, the government saw its top picks for Petrobras’ leadership withdraw their names due to glaring conflicts of interest concerning their activities in the oil sector. The turbulence comes as Petrobras faces a massive stress test, with rising fuel prices putting enormous pressure on the company, which pegs its prices to international oil fares. The pricing policy is what led to the nixing of outgoing CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna.