Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has announced he intends to replace the chief executive of Petrobras, one day after openly criticising the state-controlled oil company and its boss for raising fuel prices.
In a short statement published on Brazil’s Mines & Energy Ministry website on Friday night, Bolsonaro said he has nominated General Joaquim Silva e Luna as the new head of Petrobras.
“The government has decided to appoint Joaquim Silva e Luna to a new mission as Petrobras board member and president after the end of the two-year cycle of current president Roberto Castello Branco,” according to the statement.
Petrobras said in a separate statement that Castello Branco and its board of directors have two-year terms expiring on 20 March.
Castello Branco came under fire recently after minimising successive hikes on fuel prices, just days after the Bolsonaro administration successfully averted a truck drivers’ strike.
Petrobras has so far increased gasoline and diesel prices four times this year to cope with the rise in crude prices on international markets.
In order for the change of leadership to take place, Silva e Luna must be approved by the company’s administration council, which is scheduled to meet on 23 February. Seven of its 11 members are appointed by the federal government.
Silva e Luna is the current director of Itaipu Binacional, a company that operates the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.