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Petrobras’s Boss Taps Fernando Melgarejo as New CFO

(Bloomberg) -- The new leader of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company has tapped Fernando Melgarejo to become its chief financial officer, marking her first key appointment since taking the reins at Petrobras last month.

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Melgarejo was appointed to the CFO role along with two other new executives at Petroleo Brasileiro SA by Chief Executive Officer Magda Chambriard, according to a statement Friday.

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Petrobras’s preferred shares extended losses shortly after the announcement, falling as much as 3.6%.

Chambriard’s choice for CFO is an economist who has worked for 30 years on the financial side of Brazil’s state-owned Banco do Brasil SA. Since 2022, he was a director at the bank’s pension fund — the largest in the country, with around 275 billion reais ($51 billion) in assets under management.

Melgarejo will face the challenge of navigating competing expectations from President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and profit-oriented investors. Lula wants Petrobras to support Brazil’s development and economic growth, raising concerns that the new management may sacrifice shareholder returns to ramp up less-profitable investments.

Petrobras’s CEO also named Sylvia dos Anjos to replace Joelson Mendes as head of exploration and production.

Chambriard — a former head of Brazil’s oil regulator — wants the company to focus on exploration off Brazil’s coast to replenish the country’s reserves after its top-oil producing basin, the pre-salt, declines. That would include looking to a region known as the Equatorial Margin, near the border with French Guiana.

Renata Baruzzi was appointed to be the next head of engineering, a position in charge of negotiating the oil giant’s offshore rigs. The area is also key to Lula’s plan to revitalize the Brazilian shipbuilding industry.

The changes mean that Petrobras’s top management will now have a greater gender balance, with four female heads — including the CEO — compared with just one in the previous administration.

The nominations will be submitted to the board of directors.

--With assistance from Leda Alvim.

(Updates with more details on Melgarejo and shares starting in third paragraph)

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