Photo: Roberto da Cunha Castello Branco; Source: Petrobras

Petrobras board calls extraordinary meeting to remove CEO

The board of Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras called an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in a move which will all but ensure the replacement of the company’s CEO.

Petrobras said on Tuesday that it called the meeting in response to a request made by the nation’s Mines and Energy Ministry.

According to the company, the extraordinary general meeting will be held “with the objective of nominating Joaquim Silva e Luna to replace Roberto da Cunha Castello Branco”.

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Petrobras added that the extraordinary meeting will be held before the annual general meeting for 2021 and would focus on removing Castello Branco from the position of member of the board, which – once effective – will result in the removal of the remaining seven members of the board of directors elected by the multiple voting process at the AGM in July 2020.

The extraordinary meeting, Petrobras said, would then elect eight members of the company’s board of directors as well as the chairman.

It is worth noting that the date for the extraordinary meeting was delegated to the chairman of the board of directors. Following the nominations, the names will be submitted to the company’s management and integrity analysis process and the People Committee.

The Petrobras added that the board of directors “will continue to watch over governance standards at Petrobras, including what those standards say with respect to the pricing policies of the company’s products“.

This announcement by Petrobras follows Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro move to replace Castello Branco after he clashed with the current CEO over fuel price increases. It is strange that Bolsonaro’s nominee for the new CEO, former Defense Minister Luna, has no oil and gas experience whatsoever.

As for the current CEO, Branco was elected to the role in December 2018 and took over as the CEO in January 2019.

Castello Branco would be the second Petrobras leader in three years to fall over the political fallout from fuel pricing.

Namely, in 2018, then-CEO Pedro Parente resigned when the government forced fuel prices lower in a concession to striking truckers. Parente was then replaced with Castello Branco.