Brazil’s govt picks high-ranking technocrat as Petrobras’ next CEO

 (Reuters) – Brazil’s government on Wednesdaytapped Jose Mauro Coelho, a high-ranking technocrat with expertise in the nation’s oil and gas sector,as the next chief executive of state-run oil company Petrobras.

The appointment comes amid a hectic several days for Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), as the firm is formally known, as well as for the government, which has struggled to fill the company’s top two positions.

Last week, energy consultant Adriano Pires backed out of the government’s nomination for him to take the helm at Petrobras, shortly after soccer magnate Rodolfo Landim declined a nomination for the chairman position. read more

Coelho, a former deputy at Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry, has more than 25 years of professional experience in the oil sector.

He currently serves as the head of Pre-Salt Petroleum, or PPSA, a government agency that receives and markets oil that companies operating in Brazil are required to hand over to the state as a condition of their concessions.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he also served as the secretary of oil, gas and biofuels at the nation’s Mines and Energy Ministry for roughly a year and a half ending in 2021, and served over 12 years at a state agency dedicated to energy research.

Coelho is a relative unknown for investors and many of his specific policy preferences are unclear. However, he defended pegging domestic fuel prices in Brazil to international rates in a television interview last year, newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported, a key demand of market investors.

Also on Wednesday evening, the government appointed current board member Marcio Andrade Weber as Petrobras’ next chairman.

Weber initially joined Petrobras in 1976 where he worked for 16 years. He was one of the pioneers in the development of the offshore Campos Basin, according to biographical information released by the government.

“The government renews its commitment to respect Petrobras’ solid governance, maintaining compliance with the regulatory and legal precepts that govern the company,” Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry said in a note.

The nominations have to be approved at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on April 13 to become official.

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