Brazil’s new president to put privatization advocate in charge of state oil company
Roberto Castello Branco, a former director of mining company Vale, will be appointed to head Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, by incoming President Jair Bolsonaro. Castello Branco is a well-known advocate of privatization.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP)—Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro is appointing a “pro-market reformer” to lead the state oil company, Petrobras.

The government’s Agencia Brasil on Monday confirmed the appointment of Roberto Castello Branco, a former director of mining company Vale.

Castello Branco has advocated privatizing Petrobras, which would be unpopular in sectors that depend on subsidized pricing.

Police officers stand outside the Petrobras headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. | Felipe Dana / AP

Fuel prices set by Petrobras were at the center of a major trucking strike earlier this year that brought Latin America’s largest nation to a halt.

Castello Branco was a board member of Petrobras in 2015 and 2016. He is currently a professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, a university and business-focused think tank.

He is a long-time friend of Paulo Guedes, who is expected to oversee widespread privatizations as the next finance minister.

Bolsonaro’s administration takes over Jan. 1.


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