By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian government has chosen Banco do Brasil President, Aldemir Bendine, to head oil giant Petrobras, after its CEO, Maria das Graças Foster resigned on Wednesday, February 4th, according to national daily, O Globo.
Petrobras’ board of directors is currently meeting to discuss the nomination of a new CEO and the five directors who also resigned on Wednesday and no official statement has been made by the company about the new nominations.
According to O Globo political columnist, Cristiana Lôbo, Bendine’s name was suggested by President Dilma Rousseff herself. With the resignation of Foster and the five directors many names were rumored to be strong candidates for the CEO position, but Bendine’s was not one of them.
The market did not react well to the still unconfirmed nomination of Aldemir Bendine as Petrobras’ new CEO. At 11:30 AM on Friday, shares for Petrobras PN were falling more than 7.10 percent, while Petrobras ON were down by more than 6.5 percent. Banco do Brasil shares were falling by more than three percent.
According to analysts the market expected the government would bring in someone from the private sector instead of an executive with ties to the PT (Workers) party.
The main challenge for Foster and the Rousseff administration during the past few days has been to find someone who will bring credibility back to the company, weakened the worst corruption scandal in its history. There were speculations that former Finance Minister for the Lula Administration, Henrique Meireles, would fill the position. There were also rumors that a few of the people approached by the government, refused the position.
Foster and five of Petrobras’ top board members resigned on Wednesday after months battling accusations of billion-dollar money-laundering schemes by former directors. Federal prosecutors say Petrobras executives received at least R$2.1 billion (US$800 million) in kickbacks from companies interested in winning contract bids with the country’s oil giants.