Brazil’s Bolsonaro moves to replace Petrobras CEO

(Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has moved to replace the chief executive of state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA), three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday, amid renewed tension over the company’s fuel pricing policy.

A list of board members that Bolsonaro’s government drafted for shareholder approval at an April meeting did not include the name of CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna, said two sources, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

The CEO of Petrobras, known formally as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, must under its bylaws be a board member, so Luna’s exclusion effectively spells the end of his tenure.

A third source, a government official who also requested anonymity, confirmed that Bolsonaro had made the decision to replace Luna.

Neither Petrobras nor Bolsonaro’s office responded immediately to requests for comment.

Luna has been in a delicate position in recent months. Petrobras pegs its domestic fuel prices in part to international rates, which have shot up following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Consumers and politicians have complained about the price hikes, as has Bolsonaro, who faces re-election this year and is currently behind in the polls.

News magazine Veja reported on Bolsonaro’s decision earlier on Monday, saying the government would announce the move to replace Luna within hours, citing government sources.

Brazil-listed preferred shares in Petrobras briefly fell nearly 2% on the news, before largely recovering from the drop.

Veja said the government was considering Adriano Pires for the top job at Petrobras, a well-known energy consultant and academic in Rio de Janeiro.

Pires did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

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