- Former party president succumbs after battle with cancer
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Jose Eduardo Dutra, former Petroleo Brasileiro SA chief executive and Workers’ Party president, died Sunday after battling cancer, the party’s website said. He was 58.
Dutra, a geologist and union leader who was elected senator in 1994, joined Petrobras in 1983 and became the state-run energy company’s first CEO under the four consecutive Workers’ Party governments, in 2003. He was appointed by then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for the position at Petrobras, which he occupied until 2005.
“Today Brazil says goodbye to a great Brazilian, former senator, my friend and companion,” president Dilma Rousseff said in a statement posted on the presidency’s website.
“With Dutra I could talk about politics, disagree and lots of times agree,” said former opposition minister Elena Landau, who shared with Dutra the passion for soccer team Botafogo and posted tributes on her Twitter account. "Our friendship was unshakable."
Petrobras said in a statement it sympathizes with the Dutra family.
Dutra, who headed Petrobras’s fuel distribution unit from 2007 to 2009, left the subsidiary, known as BR, to become the Workers’ Party president for two years starting in 2010.
In 2012, he returned to the controlled company as a division head amid a shakeup implemented by then-CEO Maria das Gracas Foster. That year, she removed three division heads that are accused of money laundering and corruption in Brazil’s largest corruption scandal known as Carwash.
Two of the former executives have been sentenced to prison by a judge. One is collaborating with authorities and says he was part of a scheme to fraud contracts at the oil producer and use part of the proceeds to illegally fund campaigns for the party.
Dutra left Petrobras earlier this year after Foster’s management team resigned. He wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.