Brazilian President Zaire Bolsonaro on Monday fired the president of the state oil giant Petrobras, who had been in office for only 40 days.
Fuel prices in Brazil have risen more than 33 percent in the past year, with annual inflation exceeding 12 percent and hurting Brazilians’ wallets, according to official figures.
Inflation is a central problem as far-right Bolsonaro seeks re-election in October, leaving behind left-wing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
“The federal government, as the controlling shareholder of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Petrobras, suggests that it has decided to make a change in the company’s presidency,” the Ministry of Mines and Energy said in a statement.
Without giving a specific reason for the dismissal, it thanked Jose Mauro Coelho for his services but said: “Brazil is currently experiencing a challenging moment due to the effects of extreme hydrocarbon volatility in the international market.”
Coelho was appointed in April to expire his predecessor, Joachim Silva e Lunar, and became the third Petrobras president to be ousted by Bolsonaro due to rising fuel prices.
The government proposed to Coelho to replace Caio Mario Pace de Andre, the current secretary of the Ministry of Economy’s de-bureaucracy.
The board of directors of the company must confirm him.
Concerns of inflation
Earlier this month, just days after Petrobras announced record quarterly profits, Balsonaro replaced his longtime energy minister, Bento Albuquerque.
Bolsonaro said the gains amounted to “rape” and called on Albuquerque and Coelho to restrain Petrobras from raising prices.
However, Albuquerque and the Ministry of Energy did not have a direct role in determining the price of Petrobras, whose pricing policy is based on the international oil market.
Ignoring the president’s strong demand, Petrobras raised diesel prices by an additional 8.9 percent in the following days.
The proposed new Petrobras president, Andrew, holds degrees from Harvard and Duke Universities in the United States, according to a statement from the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
“The nominee has all the qualifications to lead the company in overcoming the challenges posed by the current situation,” the official statement said.
But according to Andre Parfetto, an economist at consulting firm Necton, Brazilians should probably expect more of the same in Andre’s context.
“Petrobras’s pricing policy will change, it does not seem reasonable to assume,” Perfito said in a statement.
“Andrade is a professional liberal and close to Minister (Economy) Paolo Guedes,” who started a study on the privatization of Petrobras, added Perfito.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)