Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday tapped José Mauro Ferreira Coelho to take over as the top executive of the state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA or Petrobras after ousting his predecessor Joaquim Silva e Luna amid rising fuel costs.
Back in March, the Brazilian oil and gas major had announced a major hike in the prices for diesel, gasoline and liquified natural gas (LNG), resulting in much disapproval from citizens and the nation’s Congress as the increase came amid the highest consumer price inflation rate in Brazil in nearly five years.
Brazil’s monthly inflation soared the most since 2003 as gasoline skyrocketed by 6.95%.
Luna had only been the CEO for a little under a year, after being appointed in April 2021 after his own predecessor was forced out amid a similar dispute over domestic fuel prices. And now Luna has been booted out for the very same thing.
Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy has quickly tried to fill the vacant CEO slot ahead of Petrobras’ shareholder meeting on April 13, but it has been a messy two weeks.
The previous nominee for CEO, energy consultant Adriano Pires turned down the position, citing concerns of a conflict of interest as reports noted that his consultancy, Rio de Janeiro-based Brazilian Centre for Infrastructure (CBIE), advises companies that do business with Petrobras.
A few days before that, the government’s initial pick for Chair of Petrobras’ Board Rodolfo Landim turned down the position. Brazilian media reports said that he decided to “dedicate all his energy to Flamengo, the Rio de Janeiro soccer club he leads.”