Pedro Parente steps down as CEO of Brazil oil giant Petrobras

RIO DE JANEIRO – The chief executive officer of Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas giant, Petrobras Pedro Parente, announced his resignation Friday.

Parente’s resignation follows a strike of Petrobras’ workers which started Wednesday with a main goal to seek his removal. The vacancy will be temporarily filled by the company’s CFO Ivan de Souza Monteiro, until a new CEO is appointed.

Ivan Monteiro, who until Friday worked as a finance manager and was previously a senior executive at Banco do Brasil, must demonstrate that he can continue to reduce debt and promote friendly policies with investors.

The Petrobras board of directors elected Monteiro as interim executive chairman at a meeting on Friday and Temer later recommended that he take office definitively. However, the Monteiro period could end in December, when the president leaves office after the October elections.

Petrobras’ former boss Parente had been at the helm of the oil giant for two years. During his administration, the government approved a change in the country’s fuel pricing process, which has led to more frequent raises of fuel prices. The price of diesel fuels, for example, rose over 50 percent in the past year alone.

His departure erased $ 11 billion of Petrobras ‘market valuation, and turned the executive into the highest profile figure leaving his post as a result of a truckers’ strike that virtually paralyzed Brazil for almost two weeks.

Petrobras, once a source of national pride, was involved in a corruption scandal and accumulated a huge debt before the arrival of Parente as CEO two years ago.

The shares of Petrobras, the largest oil producer in Latin America, fell by almost 15%, erasing some 40,000 million reais (11,000 million dollars) from the company’s market capitalization.

The real weakened up to 1% against the dollar. Petrobras bonds also fell, after Moody’s said Parente’s resignation is negative for the company’s credit profile.