Brazil Government Appoints New Chairman for Petrobras Board

Petrobras Chairman to Step Down; May Be Replaced by Landim

Rodolfo Landim, the former chief executive officer of fuel distributor BR Distribuidora, was appointed by Brazil’s government to chair Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s board of directors.

The state-controlled oil giant will elect a new board of directors at the annual general meeting on April 13. According to a company filing late Saturday, the mines and energy ministry sent another seven nominations for the Board of Directors, and four nominations for the Company’s Fiscal Council.

Landim’s confirmation as chairman is expected as the government controls the company with a majority of the voting shares. Landim is currently the president of Flamengo, one of the most popular soccer teams in Brazil which already has the occasional declared support of President Jair Bolsonaro.

With crude oil prices surging to multiyear highs, Landim is taking on the role at a sensitive time for Petrobras.

Importers and investors want the company to raise fuel prices and stick to its international price parity policy. Petrobras has held prices stable since January, and the gap between what it charges at the refinery gate and international levels has grown to 27% for diesel and 22% for gasoline, according to importers association Abicom.

On the other side of the equation, Petrobras is under increased political pressure to make fuel cheaper ahead of presidential elections in October. There are two bills in Congress to tackle high prices, and Bolsonaro on Thursday said Petrobras “knows what it must do to contribute so domestic fuel prices don’t jump.” 

At such a moment of crisis, the company could opt for lower profits to help stem consumer prices, the president said, adding that he wouldn’t interfere.

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Landim is set to take over from Admiral Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, who’s stepping down after three years at the helm. 

“My family lives abroad and I want to be close to them,” Ferreira, who turns 70 in June, said by phone.

Ferreira led the board since 2019 and remained in the role despite a sudden change of command last year, when General Joaquim Silva e Luna replaced then-CEO Roberto Castello Branco. 

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