Banco do Brasil denies CEO to quit after new round of rumors

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A man wearing a protective face mask and gloves walks in front of Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

SAO PAULO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Banco do Brasil SA (BBAS3.SA) on Friday denied speculation that its chief executive was about to quit for the second time this year, after stocks of the state-controlled Brazilian bank fell nearly 5%.

Brazilian newspapers O Estado de S. Paulo, O Globo and Valor Economico earlier reported that CEO Andre Guilherme Brandao, a former HSBC executive who has been at the helm of the bank for five months, would resign after coming under pressure from right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro over cost cutting plans.

"There was no resignation submitted by the bank's CEO," Banco do Brasil said in a filing. "Furthermore, Banco do Brasil, has no knowledge of the sources cited by the media accounts."

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that Brandao felt uncomfortable remaining in his job after a miscommunication with Bolsonaro.

That discomfort increased after Bolsonaro replaced the CEO of Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA) last week after disagreements about the state-run oil company fuel pricing policy, the source said, adding Brandao had no plan to resign. read more

The presidential palace did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bolsonaro initially threatened to fire Brandao in January after he launched a plan to close 361 branches. The CEO said earlier in February that there had been a miscommunication with Bolsonaro over the branch closing, adding that the bank would not abandon any town as a result.

Still, he reiterated that he planned to reduced the bank's footprint and save 10 billion reais ($1.79 billion) through 2025 as a result.

($1 = 5.5986 reais)

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; additional reporting by Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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