RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - José Lima de Andrade Neto resigned as president of BR Distribuidora SA, the wholly owned fuels unit of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, according to a statement from Petrobras, as the oil giant is commonly known.
Lima, who was one of the few remaining senior executives at Petrobras appointed before a giant corruption scandal exploded late last year, left for health reasons, Petrobras said.
Lima will be replaced by the unit’s Chief Financial Officer Carlos Alberto Tessarollo, Petrobras said.
On Aug. 18, the board of directors of Petrobras approved the sale of up to 25 percent of BR Distribuidora as part of a now- stalled plan to cut Petrobras’ $134 billion of debt by selling up to $15.1 billion of assets by the end of 2016.
At the time, Murilo Ferreira, chairman of Petrobras voted against the sale saying BR Distribuidora needed a broad restructuring before it would be ready for market.
Brazil’s Valor Economico newspaper also reported that Petrobras planned to replace Lima before selling the stake in the distribution unit.
Ferreira himself took a leave of absence from Petrobras until Nov 30, Petrobras said on Tuesday. Reuters reported that he left to deal with problems at Brazilian mining company Vale, where Ferreira is Chief Executive.
Petrobras’ efforts to cut its debt and renew investor confidence after a corruption scandal and more than $17 billion in related writedowns earlier this year have run into trouble in recent weeks.
The main culprits are a Brazilian economy sinking into recession, a currency that has tumbled against the dollar, the write down of Petrobras’ debt to junk, and an oil price outlook that suggested a recent plunge in prices may continue longer than first expected. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by David Gregorio)