© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the headquarters of Brazilian oil company Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro.
By Rodrigo Viga Gaier RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – The chief executive of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras is resisting pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro to resign after tensions over rising fuel prices, two sources told Reuters with direct knowledge of the matter. Roberto Castello Branco was appointed CEO of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the state-owned company is known, when Bolsonaro took office in early 2019, and has regularly addressed the president’s complaints about prices. While Bolsonaro has expressed sympathy for truckers threatening to strike over higher diesel prices, Castello Branco said their complaints are not the company’s problem and insisted that Petrobras set prices regardless of political pressure. “He will not give in and does not intend to leave,” said one of the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive issues. “There was a time when the board of directors was in favor of the government and now it is independent.” On Thursday, Bolsonaro voiced his displeasure with the CEO of Petrobras during an announcement about the reduction of fuel taxes. “The head of Petrobras said a few days ago: ‘I have nothing to do with truckers.’ That’s what the Petrobras head said. That is obviously going to have a consequence, “Bolsonaro said during a live video chat after the markets closed. Petrobras has been raising fuel prices since a Reuters report on February 5 revealed details of its revised pricing policy. , prompting analysts to downgrade the company’s shares over concerns of possible political interference. “I cannot and would not interfere at Petrobras, even if something happens at Petrobras in the next few days,” Bolsonaro said Thursday. . “Something must change. It will happen. ”