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Brazil’s Petrobras gets new boss in latest executive shakeup

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Brazil’s state-run Petrobras oil company is seen at its headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Senior Brazilian economy ministry official Caio Mario Paes de Andrade will be the next chief executive of state-run oil company Petrobras, the government said on Monday, replacing a predecessor who served less than two months in the job.

Paes de Andrade will replace outgoing CEO Jose Mauro Coelho, picked to lead Brazil’s leading oil company in early April, becoming its fourth chief executive in the past two years. [nL2N2WC1PG]

The U.S.-educated Paes de Andrade previously advised Economy Minister Paulo Guedes on digital governance, and he had been n the running for the chief executive role in early April, when Coelho was picked.

The mines and energy ministry said in a statement announcing the leadership shakeup late on Monday that Brazil is facing extreme volatility in the oil and gas market, in addition to other geopolitical challenges.

It did not specify the reason for Coelho’s ouster or when the new chief will formally take over.

The company will first need to elect Paes de Andrade to its board as under the company’s rules only board members can be appointed CEO.

The change at the top of Petrobras comes just two weeks after President Jair Bolsonaro replaced his mines and energy minister, tapping another high-ranking economy ministry official for that job.

With fuel prices surging ahead of presidential elections in October fueling double-digit inflation, Bolsonaro has railed against Petrobras’ billion-dollar profits.

But so far his moves to replace Petrobas officials have had little impact on the company’s gasoline and diesel pricing policies.

Brazil’s truckers, who paralyzed the country with a strike under Bolsonaro’s predecessor Michel Temer, are a key support group for the far-right leader.

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