Rio de Janeiro — Brazil’s incoming far-right government has tapped a University of Chicago-trained economist with experience in the oil sector to be the CEO of state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro, amid a debate over privatisation of the company’s assets. The nomination of Roberto Castello Branco is the latest in a string of business-friendly appointments by president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who takes office on January 1. Castello Branco, a member of Petrobras’s board until 2016, has also held executive positions at Brazil’s central bank and at iron ore miner Vale. He will take over from Ivan Monteiro, who will remain CEO of the oil company until Castello Branco is officially appointed by Bolsonaro, the country’s incoming economy minister, Paulo Guedes, said on Monday. In a securities filing, Petrobras said Monteiro will leave the company on January 1.

The University of Chicago, where Guedes also studied, has long been associated with orthodox economics, particularly in Latin Am...

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