Jose Mauro Coelho, who became CEO of Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras on April 13, has been fired by President Jair Bolsonaro. Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, Special Secretary for Debureaucratisation, Management and Digital Government at the Ministry of Economy, has been appointed to replace Coelho.
Petrobras said in a statement that it had received a letter from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, “requesting measures to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting, with the objective of promoting the dismissal and election of a member of the Board of Directors, and appointing Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, in place of to José Mauro Ferreira Coelho.”
The company also said: “Bearing in mind that Mr. José Mauro Ferreira Coelho was elected by the multiple vote system at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting held on 04/13/2022, if approved by the shareholders’ meeting, his dismissal will imply the dismissal of the other members of the Board elected by the same process, and the company must carry out a new election for these positions, pursuant to article 141, § 3, of Law 6,404/76.
According to Reuters, Petrobras told the government last week that selling diesel at a discount now would lead to shortages later in the year when it is in high demand during harvest season. It warned that diesel shortages are currently a global issue as a result of the war in Ukraine.
Petrobras’ policy of market pricing for fuels (supported by bylaws that prevent it from selling fuel at a loss) has been Bolsonaro’s stated reason for successive CEO firings over the last few years, although he has repeatedly appointed CEOs who had earlier endorsed market pricing. The company has reportedly suggested other ways the government could help Brazilian consumers with fuel costs, for example by cutting taxes or subsidising fuel costs.