Brazil's Petrobras CEO resigns amid pressure over gas prices

Brazil's President and presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro leads a motorcycle rally, in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 18, 2022. He will be running against his political nemesis, leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. While Bolsonaro has fervent support among his base, early polls say da Silva is leading handily before October's election. (AP Photo/Edmar Barros) (Edmar Barros, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAO PAULO – The chief executive of Brazil's state-run oil giant Petrobras resigned on Monday amid political pressure from top lawmakers and President Jair Bolsonaro. José Mauro Coelho held the job for less than two months.

A filing of the oil giant to Brazil’s security authority said that Coelho chose to resign, as lawmakers in capital Brasilia openly discuss setting a congressional inquiry on Petrobras and Bolsonaro blames the state-run company for rising gas prices.

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Bolsonaro had already announced on May 25 he would fire Coelho, but until Monday the Petrobras executive refused to leave before stockholders voted on his successor.

The move comes as Bolsonaro faces an uphill battle for reelection, and rising gas prices dent his chances of overcoming former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who leads all polls.

Petrobras said in another filing that director Fernando Borges will remain as interim chief-executive until a Bolsonaro appointee is approved by one of the company's councils.

Coelho replaced retired Army Gen. Joaquim Luna e Silva, who was fired in March amid political pressure also due to rising gas prices.

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