Petrobras names Murilo Ferreira as new CEO

San Francisco: Troubled energy giant Petrobras has a new figurehead apparent after the government of Brazil nominated Murilo Ferreira as ceo of the board, disappointing those hoping for a more radical choice.

Ferreira, the ceo of Brazilian mining and minerals multinational Vale, has to be approved by shareholders at an April 29 meeting but the nomination was announced in a filing by Petrobras on Friday.

He inherits an embattled business that has been trying to deal with the fallout from a vast corruption scandal in which four former executives are accused of participating in a bribery scheme that has implicated officials from overseas companies as well as members of the Brazilian political class.

Ferreira is a friend of Brazil president Dilma Rousseff so his appointment doesn’t suggest he’ll clean house with a board seen by many as being complicit in the scandal and in cahoots with Rousseff’s ruling Workers’ Party.

It remains to be seen if Ferreira will continue to be ceo of Vale, the world’s biggest iron ore producer, but if he doesn’t it could court conflict-of-interest accusations as Vale is a major customer of Petrobras.

One of Ferreira’s first challenges will be publishing the company’s third-quarter earnings report from last year. The company’s auditor has refused to sign off on the report if it does not accurately account for bribery losses.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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