Five Petrobras Board Members Leave After CEO's Firing
Five board members at Brazil's state oil company Petrobras have departed since the firing of CEO Roberto Castello Branco in late February.
Branco was removed by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, after the country's leader complained about Petrobras' decision to raise fuel prices. He has been replaced by retired general Joaquim Silva e Luna, aged 71, who served as Brazil's defence minister between 2018 and 2019 but has no experience in the oil industry.
Joao Cox Neto and Nivio Ziviani said they were stepping down for personal reasons, while Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva said his term would be 'interrupted unexpectedly," Petrobras said in a filing on March 2. Omar Carneiro da Cunha Sobrinho said he could not continue due to "changes in Petrobras' top management, and the positions expressed by the major representative of its controlling shareholder," which is the Brazilian state.
"The change proposed by the majority shareholder, although in line with corporate precepts, is not in line with the best management practices, on which I try to base my business trajectory," Omar da Cunha continued. "Therefore, I believe that my contribution to the board and the company would be strongly affected, and my effectiveness reduced."
The fifth board member Leonardo Pietro Antonelli simply said he had requested not to be reappointed.
Bolsonaro's decision to replace Branco comes as he struggles to boost his popularity, which has come under pressure over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccination process. Fuel prices are a political sensitive issue. Former CEO Pedro Parente resigned in 2018 after widespread protests by truckers against Petrobras' linking of fuel prices to rates on international markets.