BRASILIA, May 27 (Reuters) - Shares in state-run oil company
Petrobras fell on Friday after Brazilian President Jair
Bolsonaro signaled a wide shake-up of the company's board and
executive team amid rising dissatisfaction with high fuel
Speaking to journalists outside a church in Brasilia late on
Thursday, Bolsonaro said officials who had been at the company
for more than six months could be considered unfit for further
service as they are wedded to the market-oriented policies that
have squeezed Brazilians at the pump.
"I'm the majority shareholder. I have the right to propose,
via the Mines and Energy Ministry, changes not only to the board
of directors, but also to the executive board," he said.
"If they've stayed more than six months, they could have a
policy of continuity regarding what has been happening over
Brazil-listed preferred shares in Petroleo Brasileiro SA
, as the company is formally known, were off 3.6% in
afternoon trade, underperforming the nation's benchmark Bovespa
equities index, which was roughly flat.
It was Bolsonaro's latest move regarding Petrobras top
management and high fuel prices as he faces a tough battle for
re-election in October. A survey by pollster Datafolha released
on Thursday showed that former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio
Lula da Silva has increased his polling lead over Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro earlier this month had replaced his energy
minister and had assailed Petrobras' bumper profits amid rising
Earlier this week, Bolsonaro announced he was ousting
current Chief Executive Jose Mauro Coelho after only weeks on
Since then, domestic media reports have indicated the
shake-up at Petrobras could go beyond the CEO.
In practice, it will be difficult for any management shakeup
to occur within the next few weeks, according to a company
statement on Wednesday. The company's internal governance
committees will examine the qualifications of Bolsonaro's pick
for the next CEO, Caio Paes de Andrade, as well as the other
nominees to the board, the statement said.
Once those steps have taken place, the company will hold an
extraordinary shareholders' meeting and is required to give
shareholders 30 days notice to attend.
The appointment of the new CEO will also likely be examined
by prosecutors' offices housed within Brazil's Finance
Secretariat and the Mines and Energy Ministry, said four sources
with knowledge of the process.
Bolsonaro has consistently decried high domestic fuel
prices. Petrobras, however, has maintained its current policy of
pegging domestic rates to international prices.
As Petrobras does not have enough refining capacity to
fulfill all of Brazil's needs, company leaders warn that
significant and prolonged discounts could lead to shortages as
private refiners and importers exit the market.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia and Sabrina Valle
in Houston; Writing by Gram Slattery
Editing by Mark Potter and Leslie Adler)