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CITGO Petroleum Names New CEO

‘Right person for the job’ given the ‘geopolitical landscape,’ board chairperson says
Photograph courtesy of CITGO Petroleum

HOUSTON After a thorough and extensive search process that began earlier this year, the board of directors of CITGO Petroleum Corp. has selected Carlos Jorda for its CEO position.

Jorda has extensive knowledge of CITGO and its stakeholders based on his previous role as president of PDV America and as chairman of the CITGO board from 1999 to 2002, the company said. He is a chemical engineer with five decades of experience in the international oil and gas industry, including in refining, corporate planning, finance and upstream. Jorda held several leadership positions within Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in both the United States and Venezuela, including oversight of PDVSA's refining and marketing operations.

For the past 16 years, Jorda also has been as a consultant to large companies and investors in the oil and gas industry globally, as well as a board member for Brentwood, Tenn.-based refining and marketing company Delek U.S. Holdings Inc.

"The board was searching for a CEO with a solid professional background in operations and who could guide CITGO during this unprecedented time. With his understanding of the company, its shareholder and the geopolitical landscape in which the company operates, we believe that Carlos Jorda is the right person for the job," said CITGO Chairperson Luisa Palacios.

The appointment comes amid continued political and economic unrest in Venezuela.

On Aug. 13, the president of the country’s National Assembly, Juan Guaido, who was sworn in as president of Venezuela on Jan. 23, announced that Jorda has been chosen to occupy the presidency of CITGO, according to America Digital. Juan Guaido’s claim to Venezuela’s presidency is backed by the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Associated Press reported.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro on Aug. 15 nullified the recently named board of CITGO, saying opposition leaders had no right to appoint them. The opposition-run National Assembly appointed the 15-member CITGO board early this year after Guaido declared presidential powers, arguing that Maduro’s re-election was illegitimate. Maduro maintains power with backing from the military and allies such as Cuba, Russia and China, AP said.

Maduro appointed Asdrubal Chavez, cousin of late president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, as the new president and CEO of CITGO Petroleum in November 2017.

CITGO is valued at an estimated $8 billion. It is also at the center of court battles, such a lawsuit filed by Crystallex, which seeks to liquidate CITGO for payment following a disputed takeover of the Canadian mining firm by Hugo Chavez.

Based in Houston, CITGO Petroleum operates three refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Lemont, Ill., and wholly or jointly owns 48 terminals, nine pipelines and three lubricants blending and packaging plants. CITGO transports and markets transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products and supplies a network of approximately 4,900 locally owned and operated branded gas stations and convenience stores in 30 states and the District of Columbia. CITGO Petroleum is owned by CITGO Holding Inc.

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