The chief executive of Brazil's troubled oil company Petrobras has stepped down following a devastating truckers' strike over high fuel prices. He feared the firm might "lose its hard-won autonomy."
The CEO of state-controlled Brazilian oil company Petrobras, Pedro Parente, resigned Friday after President Michel Temer bowed to demands from truckers for cheaper fuel, guaranteeing them discounted diesel for a period of 60 days.
This eroded the autonomy granted to Petrobras in 2016 to set its own prices, which had been a key demand of investors, but saw costs for motorists surging, prompting widespread anger and a recent nine-day truckers' strike.
In the aftermath of the strike, Temer hinted that he might restore government price setting, but he later backtracked.
Pedro Parente defended his company's pricing policy, which was also intended to remove the firm from political influence, saying that recent price hikes "reflected the global economy and its effects in the country."
Investors not amused
Petrobras shares plummeted on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange on Friday, with both preferential and ordinary shares shedding around 16 percent.
Parente headed Petrobras from July 2016 and was tasked with restoring credibility and financial health to the huge company after it emerged from Brazil's biggest ever corruption scandal.
Policymakers and Brazilian executives had colluded for years with Petrobras' leadership to fleece the oil major through sweetheart contracts and kickbacks.
In a letter to the Brazilian president, Parente said Friday he was leaving Petrobras with a restored reputation, but "that his remaining in the presidency of the firm was no longer positive."
hg/jd (AFP, dpa)