According to Lula and his advisors, the privatization of the company is already in the dustbin. Prepared since 2019, the plan was ready to be implemented next year if Jair Bolsonaro had been re-elected, according to some of its creators.
Returning to the design department, however, are investments in renewable energy, refineries, job creation and regional economic development of the kind that turned Petrobras into an integrated energy giant during Lula’s 2003-2010 presidency.
What are the changes you foresee for the company?
To carry out that reset of Petrobras’ strategy, Lula plans a wide rotation in the company’s first- and second-tier management ranks, people familiar with his thinking said. Lula’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Given the magnitude of his ambitions, Lula has little time to waste. But technically it could be two to four months before she can install a new management team, due to the new regulations.
Company rules require at least 45 days for review, board approval and shareholder voting on the board member who will be the next CEO. However, that more aggressive deadline would require current CEO Caio Paes de Andrade to resign on January 1. His term technically runs through April.
Andrade, a former economy ministry official with no prior experience in the oil sector, has given no indication so far that he is willing to do so, according to those close to him. Petrobras declined to comment on Andrade’s behalf.
Bolsonaro, who appointed him, has avoided publicly caving in to Lula, his political nemesis, and few expect him to voluntarily assist in government transition.
Petrobras management is preparing a 90-slide presentation, ten from each of the top executives, including the chief executive, for Lula’s transition team, as part of the formal handover, according to company sources.
Until last week, Lula had not had any direct conversations with the candidates for the top job at Petrobras, according to people familiar with the matter, although a short list was drawn up.
Among them is Senator Jean Paul Prates, who has not yet been invited to the post despite having traveled with Lula in a private jet to the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
Prates was an energy policy adviser during the campaign, but his appointment may encounter obstacles due to his 2020 Natal mayoral campaign. A presidential decree prohibits the appointment of a CEO who has campaigned in the past 36 months.
Other candidates include former Bahia governor Rui Costa, a close ally of Lula, and Magda Chambriard, a former head of oil and gas regulator ANP, who once worked at Petrobras.