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Brazil's Adriano Pires Backs Out of Petrobras CEO Job

By Jeffrey T. Lewis

 

SAO PAULO--Brazilian oil-industry consultant Adriano Pires has backed out of taking the job as chief executive officer at state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA just one week after the Brazilian government nominated him for the job.

In a letter released Monday evening by the government, addressed to Brazilian Minister of Mining and Energy Bento Albuquerque, Mr. Pires said that he had to turn down the job at Petrobras because he wouldn't have time to disassociate himself from the consultancy that he had founded 20 years ago, the Brazilian Infrastructure Center.

The government on March 28 announced that it had nominated Mr. Pires to succeed the company's current CEO, Joaquim Silva e Luna, a switch that was scheduled to take place after a vote by Petrobras's board on April 13.

"It became clear to me that I could not reconcile my work of consulting" with holding the position of CEO of Petrobras, he said in the letter.

"I immediately started the procedure to disconnect myself from the Brazilian Infrastructure Center...During the process, however, I realized that unfortunately I don't have the conditions to do it in such a short time," he said.

Before the switch was announced, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had been highly critical of Mr. Silva e Luna, a Brazilian army general who has held the top post at the oil company since February of last year, for raising fuel prices sharply in March in the wake of higher crude oil prices.

The state-controlled company's price policy has been a sore spot for the government for years. While Dilma Rousseff was Brazil's president, the company was forced to keep gasoline and diesel fuel prices artificially low as part of an effort to keep inflation under control, costing the company billions of dollars in income.

Mr. Silva e Luna last year succeeded respected industry veteran Roberto Castello Branco as CEO of Petrobras after Mr. Castello Branco angered Mr. Bolsonaro by raising fuel prices.

 

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 05, 2022 08:29 ET (12:29 GMT)

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