Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s nominee to lead state-run oil company Petrobras said on Saturday the company needs to find “balance” in fuel pricing, considering the impact on shareholders, investors, sellers and consumers, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Joaquim Silva e Luna, a retired army general and former defense minister overseeing the state-run Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the border with Paraguay and Argentina since 2019, was tapped on Friday to be the next chief executive of Petróleo Brasileiro SA.
Bolsonaro has criticized Roberto Castello Branco, current CEO of the state firm known formally as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, for ignoring the complaints of truckers as he hiked diesel prices 15% this week, tracking global markets higher.
Petrobras shares plunged due to growing investor fears of political interference in fuel pricing, which has triggered billions of dollars in losses over the past decade.
Luna was cautious in some of his first public comments since Bolsonaro made the announcement in a late Friday social media post, seeking to allay concerns that the company would lose autonomy to set prices in Brazil, where it dominates the market.
Current CEO Castello Branco’s term ends March 20. Cheered by investors for his efforts to sell underperforming assets and cut debt, the University of Chicago-trained economist would be the second Petrobras head in three years to leave over disagreements in fuel pricing.