Brazil's Bolsonaro sacks Petrobras president after 40 days

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Brazil's Bolsonaro sacks Petrobras president after 40 days

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has resigned from the job of the president of state oil giant Petrobras, who had been in the job for only 40 days.

Fuel prices in Brazil have increased more than 33 percent over the past year, which has led to an annual inflation of more than 12 percent and hurting Brazilian wallets, according to official figures.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy said that the Federal Government, as the controlling shareholder of Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras, will make a change to the Company's presidency.

Without giving specific reasons for the dismissal, the company thanked Jose Mauro Coelho for his service, but said that Brazil is currently experiencing a challenging moment due to the extreme volatility of hydrocarbons in international markets. In April, Coelho was appointed to finish the term of his predecessor, Joaquim Silva e Luna, and became the third Petrobras president to be dumped by Bolsonaro with fuel prices going up.

The government proposed for Coelho to be replaced by Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, the current secretary for de-bureaucratization at the Economy Ministry.

He must be confirmed by the company's board of directors.

Earlier this month, Bolsonaro replaced his longtime energy minister, Bento Albuquerque, days after Petrobras reported record quarterly profits.

Bolsonaro said that the profits amounted to rape and called for Albuquerque and Coelho to stop Petrobras from raising prices.

Albuquerque and the energy ministry had no direct role in price decisions made by Petrobras, whose pricing policy is based on the international oil market.

Petrobras went on to hike diesel prices by an additional 8.9 percent in the following days, despite the president's fervent demands.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the proposed new Petrobras president Andrade holds degrees from Harvard and Duke universities in the United States.

The government statement said that the nominee has all the qualifications to lead the company to overcome the challenges imposed by the current situation.

According to economist Andre Perfeito of consulting firm Necton, Brazilians should expect more of the same, given Andrade's background.

It does not seem reasonable to assume that Petrobras' pricing policy will change, quite the contrary, Perfeito said in a statement.

Andrade is a professional with liberal values and close to Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, who launched a study on privatizing Petrobras, said Perfeito.