Publish in People - Monday, May 16, 2016
Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, Proposed Central Bank President, Ilan Goldfajn, Foreign Minister Jose Serra and Energy and Mines Minister Fernando Coelho. (Latinvex collage)
Updated May 24, 2016
The key players in Brazil’s new cabinet and economic team.
BY LATINVEX STAFF
Apart from Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, the new cabinet of Brazil’s new interim president Michel Temer is dominated by politicians (in contrast to the new government in neighboring Argentina).
That may be tied to Temer's efforts to have a working majority in Brazil’s congress, which consists of 25 different parties. One challenge is that several of the new ministers are under investigations for corruption.
Henrique Meirelles, 70, is the new finance minister and the most powerful minister in the new Temer Administration. (See Brazil’s Economic Fireman: Henrique Meirelles).
He served as central bank president from 2003 to 2011 after a 28-year career at BankBoston, where he rose through the ranks to become its president and CEO, the first foreigner to hold those positions.
From 2011 to last year he led the Public Olympic Council, which coordinated all investments for the August 2016 Rio Olympics.
During the past four years he has served as chairman at J&F Investimentos (the holding company that controls the world’s largest meat producer, JBS) and US investment firm KKR.
Central Bank President
Ilan Goldfajn, 50, is set to become central bank president in the new Temer Administration. He is scheduled to succeed current central bank president Alexandre Tombini at the next Monetary Policy Committee meeting, which is scheduled for June 7 and 8.
Goldfajn has been chief economist at Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest private bank, the past seven years. He served as director of economic policy at the Central Bank from 2000 to 2003 and holds a PhD in economics from MIT.
He worked briefly with Meirelles when the latter became Central Bank president in 2003 and was the new finance minister’s choice to head the bank.
He is seen as a pragmatist more than a hawk or a dove, according to O Globo newspaper.
Jose Serra, 74, is the new foreign minister. He is shifting the foreign ministry's focus from leftist ideology to business and trade promotion, including closer business ties with neighboring Argentina.
He served as planning minister from 1995 to 1996 and as health minister from 1996 to 2002.
He was the presidential candidate for PSDB in 2002.
Mining and Energy Minister
Fernando Coelho, 32, is the new mining and energy minister. That means he is the ultimate boss of state oil giant Petrobras, which is organized under his ministry.
Coelho will also play a role in helping to push for a more business friendly environment for oil companies, which have had to face the Rousseff government’s protectionist policies.
With a degree in business administration, his career has been limited to the national assembly so far, but that experience may prove useful as one of his key goals now is to get Congress tyo pass a mining reform law that has been stalled since 2012.
“We need to create the basis for local and foreign investors to have the tranquility so they again invest in Brazil,” Coelho told Folha de S. Paulo.
Transport, Ports, Aviation Minister
Mauricio Quintella, 45, will be responsible for the key infrastructure ministry, which is expected to play a larger role than during the previous government.
In addition to boosting more private investment in the sector, the government is likely to allow more foreign ownership in local airlines.
Wellington Moreira Franco, a chief economic adviser for Temer and a former aviation minister, told Reuters that Temer is considering allowing foreign owners to acquire a controlling stake in local airlines.
Quintella was convicted in 2014 for participating in a scheme to embezzle funds targeted for buying food at schools in in Alagoas state, where he served as education minister.
Blairo Maggi, 60, brings both sector expertise and political experience to the job as Brazil’s new agriculture minister. In addition to serving as governor and senator for Mato Grosso state, he was CEO of Andre Maggi Group, which was founded by his father and became the world's largest private soybean producer.
He was ranked a billionaire by Forbes last year (but dropped off the list this year) and is expected to be friendly to the agriculture sector, according to Reuters.
Industry and Trade Minister
Marcos Pereira, 44, is the new industry and trade minister.
He has worked at TV, accounting and law firms and is president of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB).
Henrique Alves returns to the tourism ministry. He had resigned in March when his PMDB party quit the coalition government of Dilma Rousseff. He had held the post for nearly a year before that.
Before being appointed tourism minister in 2015, he served as speaker of the lower house of Congress for two years .
He has been implicated in the so called “Car Wash” (Lava Jato) investigation into corruption at state oil giant Petrobras.
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