June 24, 2017 / 12:21 AM / a year ago

Official says Eletrobras CEO to stay despite controversial remarks

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 23 (Reuters) - Eletrobras’ chief executive, Wilson Ferreira Jr, will remain in the post at the state-controlled holding company despite controversial remarks he made about some of the company’s managers, Deputy Energy Minister Paulo Pedrosa told Reuters on Friday.

Newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo on Thursday posted on its website a recording of comments made by Ferreira during a meeting with union leaders in which he criticized some managers at Eletrobras and said they were “bums” taking advantage of benefits provided by taxpayer money.

Pedrosa said Ferreira’s comments were “unfortunate,” but said they were made in a private conversation that should not have been made public.

“Wilson is central to the company and he is doing an extraordinary job. There is no crisis at Eletrobras,” Pedrosa told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Ferreira has been conducting the largest restructuring ever at Eletrobras, as Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA is known, aiming to sharply reduce the workforce, sell money-losing subsidiaries and cut a large debt load.

A source at Eletrobras’ board told Reuters earlier on Friday that the situation at the company’s management became “tense” after the recorded comments were released.

Eletrobras shares, which rose sharply on Wednesday after Ferreira released details of the restructuring plan, lost 3.4 percent on Friday, following the release of Ferreira’s comments. (Writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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