Petrobras’ CEO, One of the Most Influential People in the World (Brazil)
Petrobras’ CEO, Maria das Graças Silva Foster, was elected as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. The magazine’s annual ranking is divided into categories that include artists, researchers, business people, political activists and heads of state.
Graça Foster is a chemical engineer and is the first woman to lead Petrobras. She took over as CEO in February 2012, after a 32-year career with the Company. She was also the CEO of Petrobras Distribuidora and the Director of Gas and Energy at Petrobras.
Other Brazilians in the list include the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, who was also in Time’s list in 2011, and businessman Eike Batista.
Maria das Graças Silva Foster was born in Caratinga, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on 26 August, 1953. She graduated in Chemical Engineering from Fluminense Federal University, and went on to complete her masters in Chemical Engineering at Rio de Janeiro Federal University (COPPE/UFRJ), where she also studied Nuclear Engineering. She also has an MBA from Brazil’s prestigious Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV/RJ). She was elected to the post of Petrobras’ Gas and Energy Business Director on 21 September 2007 and has been a Petrobras employee for 32 years.
In addition to her post as Petrobras Gas and Energy Director, Graça Foster is also CEO of Gaspetro (Petrobras Gás S.A), and of the gas pipeline company TBG (Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolívia-Brasil S.A.), as well as TAG (Transportadora Associada de Gás S.A). She also sits on the Boards of Transpetro (Petrobras Transporte S.A.), Petrobras Biocombustível S.A., Braskem S.A. and IBP (Brazilian Oil, Natural Gas and Biofuels Institute).
From May 2006 to September 2007, she was CEO of Petrobras Distribuidora S.A., taking on the duties of Financial Director during 2007. Prior to this, she was CEO of Petroquisa – Petrobras Química S.A., a post she took up in September 2005. At the same time, she also acted as Executive Manager for Petrochemicals and Fertilizers as a member of Petrobras’ Senior Management responsible for Provisioning. From January 2003 to September 2005, Graça Foster was Secretary for Oil, Natural Gas and Renewable Fuels at the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy.
During this period, by Presidential Decree, she took up the functions of National Executive Secretary of the Federal Government Program for Mobilizing Brazil’s Oil and Gas Industry (PROMINP), and Interministerial Coordinator for the National Program for Biodiesel Production and Use, another federal government initiative. Prior to 2003, she held management positions at Petrobras, in the Gas and Energy division, at the Leopoldo Américo Miguez de Mello Research Development Center (Cenpes), and at TBG (Transportadora Brasileira do Gasoduto Bolívia Brasil).
In 2007, she was made a “Commander of the Order of Rio Branco” (Comendador da Ordem do Rio Branco), an honorary title awarded by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The following year, she was elected Finance Executive of the Year and received the “Equilibrista” trophy from the Brazilian Institute of Finance Executives (IBEFRJ). She was also named Cláudia magazine’s 2008 Businesswoman of the Year. In 2009, Graça Foster received the “Medalha Tiradentes”, the highest award conferred by the Rio de Janeiro State Legislative Assembly, in recognition of her contribution as a Petrobras professional to the development of Brazil and the State of Rio de Janeiro.
In 2010, Mrs. Foster was listed in two international rankings. She is among the 10 most powerful executives in Latin America according to America Economia magazine, launched in Chile in 1986 and covering Latin American economics, finance and business. Moreover, according to the Financial Times, Graça Foster is among the top 50 female rising stars in business throughout the world. According to the ranking put together by Valor Economico and executive selection company, Egon Zehnder, Graça Foster was one of the top 15 managers in Brazil during 2011. In the same year, she took part in the “Women at the Top” event, organized in China by the Financial Times and bringing together outstanding business executives from all over the world.
Also in 2011, on the recommendation of the Council for the Order of Naval Merit attached to the Presidency of the Republic, Graça Foster was made a “Commander of the Order of Naval Merit Reserve Staff” (Comendador do Quadro Suplementar da Ordem do Mérito Naval). The honor was bestowed in Brasilia during the commemorations on the anniversary of the Naval Battle of Riachuelo, a key date in the history of the Brazilian Navy.
Source: Petrobras, April 19, 2012