Vale CEO Ferreira Said to Be in Talks to Head Petrobras Board – by Anna Edgerton and Sabrina Valle (Bloomberg News – March 10, 2015)

(Bloomberg) — Vale SA Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira is being sounded out to take over as chairman of the board of Brazil’s beleaguered oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, people with knowledge of the discussions said.

Government representatives have spoken with Ferreira, 61, about replacing former Finance Minister Guido Mantega as chairman, according to three people who asked not to be named because the talks aren’t public. The next Petrobras board meeting in which a new leader could be confirmed will be on March 23.

Ferreira would be the first executive since at least 2003 to head the state-controlled oil producer’s board, replacing a political appointee who was known for his obedience to President Dilma Rousseff. After last month choosing Aldemir Bendine, a state banker backed by Rousseff’s party, to replace Maria das Gracas Foster as chief executive officer, the government recognizes the importance of choosing a market-friendly name to lead the board, one of the people said.

“He’s a great Brazilian executive, competent, with credibility, a good name for Petrobras,” consultant David Zylbersztajn, a former oil regulator who worked with Ferreira in the early 2000s, said in a phone interview from Rio. “Knowing Murilo, I can say he can stand his own.”

Vale and Petrobras press offices declined to comment on the possibility of Ferreira joining the oil company’s board.

Balancing Act

Well-regarded in the business community, Ferreira has refrained from criticizing the government when other industry leaders have challenged policies that contributed to above-target inflation and low growth in Rousseff’s first term.

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