Pedro Parente, the CEO of Brazil's state-controlled oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA who breathed new life into the scandal-plagued company, resigned on June 1, after a paralyzing nationwide trucker strike forced the government to lower diesel prices.
The company, known as Petrobras, said in a statement the board would choose an interim CEO on June 1 and that the company's other top executives would remain.
Petrobras ADRs plunged as much as 14%, while trading in the Brazil-listed shares was suspended following the announcement.
A key plank of Parente's turnaround campaign for Petrobras and a condition for his taking the job in 2016 was freedom to control fuel prices. He sought to align those more closely with international markets through nearly daily price adjustments.
But on May 27, President Michel Temer, governing with rock-bottom approval ratings, announced plans to placate the striking truck drivers—who were protesting the high cost of diesel—by freezing fuel prices on a monthly basis and taking other measures to bring domestic diesel prices down.
Although Temer promised the government would compensate Petrobras for any losses, the move may have crossed Parente's red line against political interference.
Parente had said he would not quit during the crisis. But rumors swirled about a possible exit after Parente, a turnaround expert, was named chairman of troubled poultry company BRF in April.
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