By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Petrobras’ Board of Directors announced last week that it has accepted the nomination of economist Roberto Castello Branco to the position of president of the company as of January 1, 2019. The nomination of Castello Branco, made by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, was voted on by the Committee for Nominating, Compensation and Succession of the Board of Directors.
“The Company informs that the Board has appointed Mr. Roberto Castello Branco to the position of Board Member from 01/01/2019 until the next General Shareholders’ Meeting and also elected him as the company’s CEO, as of 01/01/2019,” read the statement issued by Petrobras to its investors.
The board of Brazil’s oil giant also announced the resignation of current CEO, Ivan Monteiro as well as the replacements of directors of Strategy, Organization and Management System, Nelson Luiz Costa Silva, and Refining and Natural Gas, Jorge Celestino Ramos.
Castello Branco has held a variety of executive positions at Vale S.A., Brazil’s Central Bank, Banco Boavista, Banco Boavista Investimentos and Banco InterAtlântico. He was also a member Petrobras’ Board of Directors between May 2015 and April 2016.
Castello Branco will start his tenure at Petrobras already expected to resolve important issues. Last week, Supreme Court Justice, Marco Aurelio de Melo, suspended a decree that would allow the company to abdicate its participation rights to the exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
The decree, issued during the first semester of 2018 by President Temer, was intended to help promote the state’s divestment program and sell off nearly US$27 billion in assets in order to pay its debts.
Petrobras officials reacted to the news by issuing a statement in which they pledge to continue to push for the program. “Petrobras is studying new ways to continue with its divestment program, in accordance with current legislation while following the limits set by this decision,” the company said.