BOGOTA — Colombia’s state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol on Friday replaced Carlos Cano as head of its board of directors, just one day after his appointment, with Saul Kattan.
Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo told reporters on Friday that Cano’s designation had been “premature” because the board had not finished its meeting when the announcement was made on Thursday.
The appointment of Cano, the longest-serving board member, was reversed after Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro opposed the decision, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks.
Kattan, an economist educated in Colombia and the United States, was nominated by Petro to join Ecopetrol’s board earlier this week.
Petro said on Twitter that Ecopetrol “configures its board of directors like any other company, following share holding.” “The majority of shares are the state’s,” he added.
Colombia owns more than 88% of Ecopetrol.
Citigroup said in a note to clients that the move “sends the wrong message and challenges the board of directors’ independence, which may justify investors risk aversion that has translated into an implied equity risk for Ecopetrol.”
Citigroup said Kattan was elected as board chief in a split decision.
Ocampo said there was no negative perception of Cano and that he was technically not removed from the post because his appointment had not been finalized. (Reporting by Bogota newsroom, writing by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)