Bolsonaro to swap Petrobras CEO after tension over fuel pricing | Reuters

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has decided to appoint former Defense Minister Joaquim Silva e Luna as chief executive of state-controlled oil company Petrobras, he said in a Friday post on Facebook.

Roberto Castello Branco, the current CEO of the state-run oil firm known formally as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, has drawn ire from Bolsonaro for raising fuel prices despite complaints from truckers threatening to strike.

The move comes after investor concerns about political interference in the state firm triggered a 6.6% plunge for its Brazil-listed preferred shares on Friday.

During a late Thursday announcement about lower fuel taxes, Bolsonaro made clear his dissatisfaction with Castello Branco, saying there would be changes at Petrobras “in coming days,” even as he reiterated that he would not “interfere” in the firm.

Petrobras did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company’s board of directors is set to meet on Tuesday.

The board has so far proven loyal to Castello Branco, although the majority of its members are government appointed, Reuters reported earlier in the day. One person close to the company had said its board and top executives were considering mass resignations to back the CEO’s independence. Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, Gram Slattery and Sabrina Valle; Additional reporting by Marta Nogueira and Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Brad Haynes

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