Petrobras board approves Magda Chambriard as new CEO following firing of Jean Paul Prates

(Bloomberg) – Petrobras’s board of directors appointed Magda Chambriard as the state-controlled oil giant’s next chief executive officer, who enters the job with a clear mandate to ramp up investments in sectors including refining.

Former Petrobras CEO Jean Paul Prates

Chambriard will also become a member of the board of the directors, the company said in a filing on Friday.

Shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, are down 10% since Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fired Chambriard’s predecessor on May 14. Investors are concerned that the company will prioritize investments in areas such as refining and renewable energy that aren’t as profitable as extracting oil from deep-water fields, in an effort to help create jobs and accelerate economic growth.

Petrobras, Latin America’s largest oil producer, has long been a political tool for Brazilian presidents who’ve tried to make the company a vehicle for their economic vision — whether that means heavy state intervention or a hands-off approach. Lula, who returned to the presidency last year, has criticized the previous CEO, Jean Paul Prates, over the amount of dividends Petrobras paid to investors instead of using the money to make investments.

Chambriard, an engineer by training, began working at Petrobras in the 1980s and joined the Brazilian National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels in the 2000s, before becoming the head of the agency in 2012.  

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