The Brazilian Government announced on Monday the replacement of José Mauro Ferreira Coelho, who had held the presidency of the state oil company Petrobras for forty days and was the third in office during the current government of the president, Jair Bolsonaro.
“Brazil is currently experiencing a challenging moment, as a result of the effects of the extreme volatility of hydrocarbons in international markets,” the Ministry of Mines and Energy justified the change in a statement.
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“Various geopolitical factors known to all lead to impacts not only on the price of gasoline and diesel, but on all energy components,” the note added.
According to the Ministry, “to maintain the necessary conditions for growth in employment and income for Brazilians” it is “necessary to strengthen the investment capacity of the private sector as a whole and work in a balanced scenario.”
To relieve Ferreira Coelho, the Government proposed to the social communicator Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, adviser to the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, and with a postgraduate degree in administration and management from Harvard and a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University, also in the United States.
The name of Paes de Andrade will be submitted to the company’s Board of Directors for final approval.
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Before Ferreira Coelho, economist Roberto Castello Branco and reserve general Joaquim Silva e Luna were in office during the current government.
On May 1, Bolsonaro also replaced his Minister of Mines and Energy, Admiral Bento Albuquerque, a few days after publicly criticizing him for allowing the oil company to announce a new increase in diesel prices.
The surprising change in the Cabinet took place only six days after the head of state launched harsh and public criticism of his then minister and Ferreira Coelho, for the continuous adjustments in fuel prices.
Petrobras, which has a price parity policy by which it reviews the international price of crude oil in the Brazilian market, announced this week a new increase in diesel, the main fuel used by trucks in Brazil, in an adjustment that may still put pressure on plus the growing inflation, which is already close to 12% year-on-year, a few months before the presidential elections.
Despite being state-controlled, Petrobras has shares traded on the São Paulo, New York and Madrid stock exchanges, and rules that prevent direct state intervention.
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The oil company announced at the beginning of the month that in the first quarter it obtained a profit of 44,561 million reais (about 8,912.2 million dollars), 3,718% higher than that of the first three months of 2021 and the highest value for the period in its history.
Five days later, the state company announced an 8.87% increase in diesel, which, according to economists, will have a strong impact on inflation in Brazil in the coming months.
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