Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is looking to replace Joaquim Silva e Luna as CEO of state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) at the April 13 meeting of the company’s shareholders. Silva e Luna was appointed in April 2021 after Bolsanaro fired Roberto da Cunha Castello Branco. Both leaders angered the populist Bolsanaro for allowing fuel prices to rise in Brazil.
Bolsonaro’s appointee for the top spot at Petrobras is Adriano Pires, founder of consulting firm Centro Brasileiro de Infraestrutura (CBIE). This despite Pires’ defence of a Petrobras policy of domestic fuel prices that reflect international price movements.
“What we can’t do, mustn’t do, is yield to the temptation of intervening in Petrobras’s prices, something that has only caused losses for Brazilians,” he said in an article on website Poder360 on March 22.
He has reportedly suggested creation of a fund that would enable the government to temporarily subsidise fuel costs to minimise the impacts of increases.
Pires’ appointment has, however, been put into question. Lucas Furtado, deputy prosecutor at Brazil’s federal audit court, has asked the court to investigate Pires for a possible conflict of interest related to his 20 years of work as a consultant to multinational oil companies.