Petrobras chooses Vale CEO as board chair

GMT 18:45 2015 Thursday ,30 April

Arab Today, arab today Petrobras chooses Vale CEO as board chair

Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras
Rio de Janeiro - AFP

Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras on Thursday nominated Murilo Ferreira, CEO of mining firm Vale, as its next board chair as the energy firm looks to emerge from a corruption scandal.

Ferreira will join 10 other new board members after Petrobras last week showed it lost $2.1 billion to the scandal comprising the largest graft scheme in Brazilian history.

The loss announcement ended weeks of speculation after the embattled company released long-delayed audited results.

A multibillion-dollar kickbacks scheme implicating dozens of politicians triggered the resignations of Petrobras's chief executive and the entire board.

The scandal has damaged the government of President Dilma Rousseff, herself a former Petrobras board chair.

The new board will serve for a year and includes Luciano Coutinho, current temporary head of the national development bank BNDES.

The new board will also include current CEO Aldemir Bendine, who took over from Graca Foster in February.

Joining Ferreira as board newcomers will be a clutch of figures with a detailed knowledge of technical, administrative and financial areas in a sign Petrobras intends to put together a more technocratic and less politically engaged team than previously.

The market had expected the designation of Ferreira, Vale CEO since 2011 and who is one of the most powerful businessmen in Brazil.

Until the scandal broke in March last year, Petrobras had been seen as a symbol of Brazil's growing economic clout.

But the discovery of massive corruption surrounding the attribution of contracts with the oil firm and the apparent links to politicians and top businessmen from leading construction companies have seen its fortunes implode over recent months.

It announced losses of 21.6 billion reals ($7.2 billion) for 2014 after its share price nosedived and ratings agencies hit the firm with a series of downgrades.

A police investigation dubbed Operation Car Wash has caught in its dragnet 13 senators, 22 congressmen and two state governors.

One of those currently in detention is the ruling Workers Party's now former treasurer, accused of laundering money and taking bribes.

Joao Vaccari, who resigned his post after his April 15 arrest, denies the charges, saying any money received comprised political donations.

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