1 min read.Updated: 20 Feb 2021, 04:02 PM ISTBloomberg
Joaquim Silva e Luna is the first military officer to take the helm of the state-run company since Brazil’s dictatorship
Truckers have been complaining about rising diesel prices and threatening to strike prompting the president to complain publicly about what he called excessive price increases
President Jair Bolsonaro has named a former general to lead state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA following a conflict with current management about rising fuel prices.
Bolsonaro announced the appointment of Joaquim Silva e Luna late on Friday on his Facebook page to replace Roberto Castello Branco. Branco, who had been on the job since the Brazilian President took office in January 2019, won praise from investors for reducing debt and steering Petrobras through the pandemic, and has been an advocate of independence from government intervention.
Truckers, who brought the economy to a halt during a strike in 2018 and are part of Bolsonaro’s political base, have been complaining about rising diesel prices and threatening to strike, prompting the president to complain publicly about what he called excessive price increases.
Petrobras declined to comment on Bolsonaro’s announcement.
Luna is the first military officer to take the helm of the state-run company since Brazil’s dictatorship that ended in the mid 1980s.
Branco made progress on long-standing plans to sell off refineries and open the domestic fuel market to more competition. Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras lost billions of dollars during bull markets for oil when previous administrations pressured it to suppress domestic prices, and the prospect of intervention is a major concern for investors.
Petrobras preferred shares fell 6.6% to 27.33 reais in Sao Paulo Friday following Bolsonaro’s comments on excessive price increases, which came after market hours the previous day. ADRs fell another 9% in after-hours trading in New York after the announcement of the CEO change.