November 9, 2018 / 3:26 PM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil VP-elect 'impressed' after meeting with Petrobras executives

(Updates with tweet by vice president)

By Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Marta Nogueira

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Vice-President-elect Hamilton Mourão said on Twitter he was “very much impressed” after meeting on Friday with top executives at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA , in the midst of uncertainty over the company’s future leadership.

The meeting came as President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is still making decisions over who will take up key posts in his future government. Petrobras Chief Executive Ivan Monteiro said this week that he has not talked with Bolsonaro about whether or not he will stay in the job, but he would be willing to discuss staying on if he were invited to do so.

Investors are closely watching to see if heavily indebted Petrobras will build on a turnaround that is already underway, as Bolsonaro sends conflicting messages promoting both free-market policies and a nationalist economic vision.

Continuity with Petrobras’ top brass could soothe investor concerns about excessive government interference in the company.

“This morning, I had the pleasure of visiting Petrobras and hearing, alongside CEO Ivan Monteiro, a presentation by the management about the situation of the company,” Mourao wrote. “I came out very much impressed.”

On Wednesday, Brazilian television channel GloboNews said Bolsonaro had decided to keep Monteiro as the CEO of the world’s most indebted listed oil company. But Bolsonaro said later on Wednesday that his future economy minister, Paulo Guedes, will make that decision.

In October, Bolsonaro’s transition team informally sounded out Roberto Castello Branco, a former Petrobras board member and ex-chairman of iron ore miner Vale SA, about his interest in the post, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Gram Slattery Editing by Susan Thomas

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