Photo: Petrobras' headquarters in Rio de Janeiro; Source: Petrobras

Brazil government picks two more nominees for Petrobras board

The Brazilian government has nominated two more board members of Petrobras, to be voted on at the upcoming extraordinary general meeting.

Petrobras said on Wednesday in a securities filing that it received an official letter from the Ministry of Mines and Energy with two nominations for the members of the company’s board of directors.

According to the company, the Ministry of Mines and Energy nominated Cynthia Santana Silveira and Ana Silvia Corso Matte.

Of the two, Santana Silveira is an experienced oil and gas worker with a long career in the industry. Most notably, she worked for oil major Total for 17 years. Corso Matte is a lawyer and has served as a director on the boards of Cemig, Renova Energia, and the start-up Superjobs.

These two nominations come only two days after Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Economy nominated six new members of Petrobras’ board of directors.

The six names nominated were Joaquim Silva e Luna, Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, Ruy Flaks Schneider, Márcio Andrade Weber, Murilo Marroquim de Souza, and Sonia Julia Sulzbeck Villalobos.

It is worth noting that Villalobos was the only nominee by the Ministry of Economy while the other members were nominated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Another interesting fact is that two of the six names come from military backgrounds. Silva e Luna, the man nominated to also be the company’s next CEO, is one of them. He is a retired military general who had been running the Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the border with Paraguay. It is also worth noting that he has no oil and gas experience whatsoever.

The other name is Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, an admiral and until January 2019 the Commander of the Brazilian Navy but unlike Silva e Luna he has oil and gas experience as he is the current chairman of Petrobras. Two – Márcio Andrade Weber and Murilo Marroquim de Souza – were previously employed at Petrobras for 16 and 23 years, respectively.

These nominations are the result of five current board members deciding to step down as a reactionary move to the ousting of current CEO Roberto Castello Branco by Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

Namely, João Cox Neto, Nivio Ziviani, Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Omar Carneiro da Cunha Sobrinho, and Leonardo Pietro Antonelli stated earlier this month that they would not be standing for re-election at the next annual general meeting, effectively resigning from the company.