Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The Brazilian government has nominated Maria das Graças Foster to succeed Jose Sergio Gabrielli as CEO of state-controlled oil giant Petrobras, the company said Monday.
Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who chairs the Petrobras board of directors, "has already stated that he will go ahead with the proposal" to make Foster, the current director of the gas and energy division, the first woman to head the company, the communique said.
The proposal will be analyzed at the next board meeting on Feb. 9.
If approved by the board, Foster will replace Gabrielli, who has held the post since 2005 and who apparently hopes to be a gubernatorial candidate for the northeastern state of Bahia.
Foster is a personal friend of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and is considered an executive with high technical qualifications.
According to media accounts, Gabrielli's departure is basically a political move enabling him to prepare the launch of his political career in the governing Workers Party.
The change of Petrobras leadership was decided two weeks ago by Rousseff so that Gabrielli could begin making contacts and appearances in the state of Bahia with the aim of running for governor in 2014, business daily Valor said.
Petrobras shares trade on the Sao Paulo, New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires stock markets, but the Brazilian government retains control of the company.