For months before the return to the national Executive Power, Kirchnerism had been making plans for YPF. In 2019, the company had a turnover of $ 678,000 million, or almost US $ 14 billion, a tempting figure for any political space. Sergio Massa had laid his eyes there, just like Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. But Alberto Fernandez installed William Nielsen. The economist had defended him in “hostile” environments such as business forums and the president seemed to want to compensate him for it.
A year after taking office, Nielsen confirmed that he is leaving. The next president of YPF will be Pablo González. Lieutenant Governor of Alicia kirchner, santacruceño, knows about energy and unions. “It is someone from the project”, defend the Cristinistas. A politician, something they like more than an economist. In any case, the politician will have the thankless task of negotiate spending cuts, especially with unions.
Nielsen confirmed his departure yesterday. Attributed it to “new challenges” proposed by Alberto Fernández. On Monday, he had told Clarion that the version of his resignation was a “delirium”.
The stock market reaction to the change marked a 6% drop in shares of the company. In the eyes of the market, it is worth less than $ 1.5 billion. The role of the oil company lost 30% in value in a month, trading at US $ 3.68. As of April 2017, it was over $ 25.
“In the framework of the versions of public knowledge about my departure from YPF, I comment that they originate in a new challenge that was offered to me by the President of the Nation”, wrote on Twitter.
As it emerged, the new challenges that Nielsen refers to are becoming an ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Ministry asked in recent days for the approval of Nielsen’s plea, but the document has yet to be sent to the Senate Agreement Committee, its treatment and subsequent approval by the plenary session of the upper house.
To those who talk about the “project” -they refer to Cristina Fernández and are very loyal to her-, they never liked the Nielsen name “It’s not ours”, they marked from day one.
Nielsen’s fall from grace gradually built up. The first stone was a suggestion that left to transcend the need to rebuild gasoline prices, at the beginning of his administration. President Alberto Fernández himself called journalists to deny it. Vice President Cristina Fernández, who has her bishops at YPF, also came out to refute and criticize him. “He cut himself off” was the slogan.
The disagreements between the CFK and Nielsen bishops were repeated several times. YPF organized a meeting with journalists to discuss a campaign on the role of women. But there were questions about the YPF numbers that Nielsen answered. Another anger from the CFK bishops with the economist. who spoke of non-positive numbers.
CFK delegates feel more comfortable with González, the next president. “He is political, he does not cut himself, he understands, he is on the subject, he is not a divo”, they mutter. “It’s from the project,” they add. Some businessman with arrival to Kirchner supports it. “In union conflicts between YPF and the unions, in Santa Cruz, he sided with the conciliators and that rescued him,” he commented. That doll to negotiate with the unions can be key at this stage of the company.
YPF’s revenues are 30% lower in dollars than a year ago. The company is forced to cut costs. During 2020, it invested the least amount of money since its nationalization.
Nielsen’s most recent disagreement with other sectors of the ruling party was over the renegotiation of the debt. There was tension with Miguel Pesce, President of the Central Bank, in that chapter. The then head of the oil company got angry when the Central informed him that they would not sell the dollars to them, and that they had to renegotiate 60% of the debt. In YPF they deny that episode, but Clarion he was able to verify it from other sources.
When the decision was made to appoint a new CEO, Nielsen was not consulted. Cristina Fernández proposed to Sergio Affronti. This executive had already been at YPF led by Miguel Galuccio, who led the company from its nationalization until March 2016. Galuccio suggested his name to Cristina. Once appointed, Affronti dedicated himself to removing the main “top managers” from the previous management and placing people he trusted.
Nielsen was also suspicious of the influence of La Cámpora. There was a statement from him about “Too many employees” at YPF. It was in a teleconference organized by an energy think tank based in San Diego (United States). Clarion He reflected it after it happened, and there close to Nielsen they were upset with this newspaper for the publication.
In the middle of the year, the Government made the decision to promote the “Creole barrel”, a support price for local oil production. Affronti sat at that table. Nielsen, who was the president of YPF, did not attend, disagreeing with the idea. He later stated that YPF would not have to resort to this mechanism.
One of the main defenders of the “criollo” barrel – he had already implemented it in his previous administration – was Fernández de Kirchner.