Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer has decided to appoint engineer and former Bunge executive Pedro Parente to be chief executive of ailing state-run oil company Petrobras, O Globo newspaper reported on Monday.
Parente was chief of staff of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, during whose administration he successfully managed a severe energy crisis that required electricity rationing.
O Globo, citing unnamed sources, said Temer is seeking to tap Parente’s management skills to rescue Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, from a financial crisis brought on by low world oil prices and a massive corruption scandal that has paralyzed much of its expansion projects.
Petrobras is the most indebted oil company in the world.
Temer, who replaced suspended President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday while she faces an impeachment trial, chose Parente on Monday and will discuss the appointment with his newly appointed Energy Minister Fernando Coelho on Tuesday, O Globo said on its online version. He would replace current CEO Aldemir Bendine.
Temer spokesman Marcio de Freitas told Reuters by WhatsApp that “nothing has been decided yet.”
Parente was CEO of Bunge Brasil, a unit of agribusiness giant Bunge, the largest exporter of Brazilian grains.
In the 2001 energy crisis, Parente sidestepped state utilities that were up for sale and relied on private thermo-electric generators that used natural gas to increase power supplies.
Petrobras has a large divestment plan that includes the sales of its subsidiaries to recover from a financial crisis that has stunted its investment programs, including development of huge reservoirs of oil in the off-shore subsalt polygon.
By Anthony Boadle
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