Petroecuador board ratifies Hugo Aguiar as general manager

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Ecuador's state-run Esmeraldas refinery complex in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, August 15, 2017, REUTERS/Daniel Tapia/File Photo

QUITO (Reuters) - The board of directors of Ecuador’s state oil company Petroecuador has ratified Hugo Aguiar as its general manager following an evaluation of senior officials across public companies, according to the Coordinating Company of Public Companies (EMCO).

President Guillermo Lasso asked managers of Ecuador’s public companies to vacate their positions in January amid reports of possible corruption in some entities. Lasso also instructed Ecuador’s comptroller to begin a special audit of state companies’ financial and administrative processes since July 2021.

The boards of Petroecuador and three other public companies have now confirmed the positions of their respective managers, EMCO said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“The officials will continue to exercise their functions with absolute responsibility and under the permanent evaluation of the boards of each of the public companies,” EMCO said.

“It is possible to make changes at any time depending on the needs of each public company,” it added.

Petroecuador’s union workers in January protested the appointment of Aguiar and other Petroecuador bosses named by Lasso since he took office in May 2021, arguing they did not meet the technical profile or experience for their positions. Workers have said the fall in Petroecuador’s output during Lasso’s administration is due to these appointments and company practices.

The government continues to evaluate managers of Ecuador’s 13 public companies, including EMCO. Following the evaluation process, the government dismissed EMCO’s general manager last month.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Will Dunham