Petrobras won’t bypass shareholders’ meeting in CEO swap

In a securities filing, Brazil’s oil and gas major Petrobras said the company has not taken “any new decision regarding” the change of its CEO. In May, the Brazilian Mines and Energy Ministry announced that it would seek to replace José Mauro Coelho — who took office in April — with Caio Paes de Andrade, the government’s current “de-bureaucratization” secretary.

For the past few days, the Brazilian press has reported that the government would seek to maneuver the board in a way to bypass a shareholders’ meeting and speed up the process. 

Such a move, however, could spark litigation from minority shareholders. Especially since some of them consider that Mr. Andrade lacks the bonafide credentials to take the helm of Brazil’s biggest company. 

Mr. Andrade holds an undergraduate degree in communication, a postgraduate degree in management from Harvard University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University. But he has never worked in the oil industry.

President Jair Bolsonaro has scapegoated the dollar-pegged pricing policy Petrobras has enforced since 2016 for the recent fuel hikes and threatens to change it. So far, however, Mr. Bolsonaro has played musical chairs with Petrobras but has refrained from actually intervening in the company.

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