The Brazilian government appoints Rodolfo Landim to head the Petrobras board of directors

The Petrobras logo appears in front of the company’s headquarters in Sao Paulo, April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

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HOUSTON (Reuters) – The government has appointed former Petrobras CEO Rodolfo Landim to chair the board of the state-controlled oil producer, the company said in a statement late on Saturday.

Earlier today, Admiral Eduardo Basilar Lille Ferreira told Reuters he intends to step down as president of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the Rio de Janeiro company is officially known.

“The CEO of Petrobras is working 24 hours and I want to spend more time with my family,” Ferreira said, adding that he has two older children who live outside Brazil.

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Ferreira will remain until the end of his term. A shareholder meeting is scheduled to renew the company’s board of directors on April 13.

The replacement comes as Petrobras faces pressure from investors to raise fuel prices with oil nearing $120 a barrel. The company controls gasoline and diesel prices in Brazil with more than 80% of the country’s refining capacity.

Ferreira declined to comment on Petrobras’ fuel price policy.

Rodolfo Landim worked at Petrobras before creating his own oil company, Ouro Preto Oleo e Gas, and selling it to investors in 2020.

He first joined Petrobras in 1980 and worked for 26 years in the company, rising to the position of Head of Natural Gas Division. In 2003, during Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s first presidential term, the government appointed Landim as CEO of Petrobras’ gas station chain, the largest retail fuel company in Latin America. He managed the fuel company until 2006.

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Landim currently runs a soccer team in Brazil as its president.

He is expected to be confirmed as chairman because the government controls the board of directors with a majority of voting shares.

If confirmed, Landim will rejoin Petrobras in the challenge of balancing fuel price policy that will satisfy both investors and the government ahead of the October presidential election.

On Thursday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Petrobras may cut its dividend to prevent fuel price hikes. Read more

In a weekly speech on social media, Bolsonaro said he was sure Petrobras would do what was necessary to protect consumers from suffering from sharp price increases.

Bolsonaro’s comments come after Petrobras in 2021 shattered its record for annual earnings and dividends, thanks to higher Brent crude prices. Such statements may raise investor concerns that he may seek to include company policies in setting prices.

Petrobras’ policy of seeking parity between domestic fuel prices and international markets angered many Brazilians as the cost of Brent crude rose. A growing group of politicians said Petrobras should help shoulder the burden.

On Wednesday, CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna told Reuters that Petrobras had not yet made a decision on the fuel price adjustments.

The government also appointed seven other names to the board of directors. These are Petrobras CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna, whose term on the Board of Directors will be renewed, Carlos Eduardo Lisa Brandao, Luis Henrique Caroli, Marcio Andrade Webber, Murillo Maroquim de Souza, Rui Flac Schneider and Sonia Julia Solzbeck Villalobos.

(Sabrina Valley reporting) Additional reporting by Peter Frontini. Editing by Franklin Paul and Christopher Cushing

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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