Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, was in Rio de Janeiro today (Feb. 13) to attend the inauguration of the new CEO of Petrobras, Maria das Graças Silva Foster and she is now the Company’s has its first female CEO in its 58 years of Petrobras existence.
An engineer and a 32-year career employee at the company, Foster had been serving as the director for Gas and Energy since 2007. She was born in Caratinga, in the state of Minas Gerais, and will take over from Bahian economist José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, who holds the record as the longest serving CEO at the helm of Petrobras, with six years and seven months in office.
Dilma Rousseff, who for seven years chaired the Petrobras Board of Directors, highlighted the Company’s importance for Brazil: “I am keenly aware of the competence of the staff of this company, which represents the nation’s ability to overcome challenges. I want to say goodbye to Gabrielli, a great companion who directed Petrobras over the past few years, and greet Graça Foster, who will know how to continue with the achievements made by the management that is now coming to an end, using all the natural ability and integrity that have always underpinned her professional life.”
Gabrielli thanked Petrobras’ directors for the knowledge gained and ideas exchange. “I am sad I will no longer be working with such extraordinary people. It is unlikely that I will find such dedication, competence and efficiency as there is among Petrobras’ staff. Meanwhile, I am glad to know that I leave the company in the hands of someone with such ability, loyalty and companionship as Graça Foster. She is first rate,” he said.
The now former CEO of Petrobras recalled how he gradually won the confidence of both market and oil workers and looked back on some of the accomplishments of his administration. “This unknown economist from Bahia managed to overcome the initial distrust of the financial market and the oil companies. As highlights of my term in office, I would like to point to Brazil’s achievement of self-sufficiency in oil, the increased investments in refining and the Company’s return to petrochemicals, the creation of Petrobras Biocombustível and the regulatory framework for the pre-salt.”
Gabrielli also cited the creation of the theme-based networks together with research institutions, the domestic content policy, and the biggest share offer in history, amounting to some $70 billion, held in September 2010. He credited his many achievements to having been “a conductor of great musicians”, and wrapped up his remarks with a reference to his sense of mission accomplished, “realized and recognized.”
Also attending the ceremony were ministers, congressmen, governors, mayors and other public officials.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, February 14, 2012; Image: Petrobras