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Petroleo Brasileiro Surges on CEO Succession Plan: Rio Mover

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the world’s fifth-biggest oil producer by market value, rose to an eight-month high on plans to replace its chief executive officer with Maria das Gracas Foster, currently head of the natural-gas and energy division.

Petrobras, as the state-run oil company is known, surged 3.8 percent to 25.13 reais in Sao Paulo, the highest since May 4. The benchmark Bovespa index rose 0.1 percent.

“The market seems relieved that Petrobras has not been subject to political whims, but rather has chosen a career employee with technical skill to be CEO,” Christopher Palmer, who helps manage $2.5 billion of assets as director of global emerging markets for Henderson Global Investors Ltd., said in a e-mailed response to questions today. “This indicates that execution of projects is now a top priority.”

Foster, 58, will be nominated to replace Jose Sergio Gabrielli, 62, in a Feb. 9 board meeting, Petrobras said in a regulatory statement today. She will be nominated for the position by Petrobras chairman and Finance Minister Guido Mantega, according to the filing.

Gabrielli is departing to run for political office, Energy Minister Edison Lobao told reporters today, without elaborating.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Rio de Janeiro at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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