EXCLUSIVE-Petrobras mulls insiders to fill key management vacancies -sources

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 15 (Reuters) - Incoming Petrobras CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna has endorsed four members of the company’s executive team to head up key divisions of the business, people with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

The board of directors of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Brazil’s state-controlled company is formally known, meets on Friday to vote on the new division heads, the company said. The board is also expected to officially confirm Luna as CEO.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, announced the 71-year-old Luna would take the helm of Petrobras in a Facebook post in February. Luna served as Brazil’s defense minister in 2018. He is the first military man to run Petrobras since the 1980s.

Half of the company’s eight-seat executive director team is currently vacant, including the chief financial officer’s post. Four divisional heads left the company after previous CEO Roberto Castello Branco was fired by Bolsonaro in February in a dispute over fuel prices. He officially ended his term on Monday.

Among the candidates for executive directors, Chief Accounting and Tax Officer Rodrigo Araujo is expected to be named CFO, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the information is private. Executive manager Fernando Borges, who led the massive Libra field offshore project, has been put up as a candidate for the Exploration and Production division, according to the people.

Executive Manager of Commercialization Claudio Mastella, if approved, will be head of the logistics and commercialization department.

Petrobras declined to comment.

All of the candidates have had long careers at Petrobras, the people said. Araujo, Borges and Mastella were part of the company’s succession plan.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle and Marta Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro Additional reporting by Rodrigo Viga in Rio de Janeiro Editing by Matthew Lewis