Brazilian Bolsonaro replaces Petrobras CEO, sources say

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 28 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has offered to replace the chief executive of state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA), three sources familiar with the matter said on Monday, amid growing renewed tension around the company’s fuel pricing policy.

A list of board members that Bolsonaro’s government drafted for shareholder approval at a meeting in April did not include the name of CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna, two sources said, who asked anonymity to discuss confidential matters.

The CEO of Petrobras, officially known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, is required by its statutes to be a member of the board of directors, so Luna’s exclusion effectively marks the end of his tenure.

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A third source, a government official who also requested anonymity, confirmed that Bolsonaro had made the decision to replace Luna.

Neither Petrobras nor Bolsonaro’s office immediately responded to requests for comment.

Luna has been in a difficult position for the past few months. Petrobras partly sets its domestic fuel prices on international rates, which skyrocketed after Russia invaded Ukraine. Consumers and politicians have complained about rising prices, as has Bolsonaro, who faces re-election this year and is currently behind in the polls.

News magazine Veja reported on Bolsonaro’s decision earlier on Monday, saying the government would announce the decision to replace Luna within hours, citing government sources.

Brazil-listed preferred shares of Petrobras briefly fell nearly 2% on the news, before largely recovering from the decline.

Veja said the government is considering Adriano Pires for the top job at Petrobras, a well-known energy consultant and academic in Rio de Janeiro.

Pires did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier Additional reporting by Gram Slattery, Carolina Pulice and Peter Frontini Writing by Gram Slattery Editing by Brad Haynes and Marguerita Choy

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