Brazilian Economist Adriano Pires has turned down President Jair Bolsonaro's offer to chair the state-run oil company Petrobras after dismissing General Joaquim Silva e Luna, who repeatedly adjusted the price of fuel against the head of state's recommendations.
Pires made his decision Monday after judiciary sources warned him of a possible conflict of interest with his appointment.
In a letter addressed to Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque, Pires thanked the invitation but claimed his professional activity in consulting firms prevented him from taking over such an office.
”It was clear to me that I would not be able to reconcile my consulting work with the Petrobras presidency. I immediately began the procedures to disassociate myself from the Brazilian Infrastructure Center (CBIE), a consulting firm that I founded more than 20 years ago and that I now run in partnership with my son. Throughout the process, however, I realized that unfortunately I do not have the conditions to do it in such a short time, Pires wrote.
Several Petrobras minority shareholders had questioned the conflict of interests resulting from the economist's professional activity.
Silva e Luna had implemented a series of constant adjustments following the international price of crude oil, which had a significant impact on Brazil's inflation figure in a year in which Bolsonaro will seek re-election.
Fuels had risen 33% yoy in February. The war in Ukraine worsened the international scenario, so Petrobras increased the price of gasoline by 18.8% and diesel by 24.9%.
Pires' appointment had yet to be approved by Petrobras' board of directors, but on Friday, the Union's Court of Auditors had warned of the existence of a possible conflict of interest” with his appointment.
Pires' was Bolsonaro's second straight setback regarding Petrobras. Last Sunday, Rodolfo Landim, a former executive of the oil company whom the president had proposed to head the company's board of directors, said he preferred to remain as president of Flamengo, one of Brazil's most popular football clubs.