CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez said Sunday the state-owned oil monopoly will be restructured from top to bottom. He started by firing the company's president.
Chavez, a former coup leader popular with the country's poor, named Guaicaipuro Lameda Montero, a general and engineer who was heading the government budget office, as the new chief of Petroleos de Venezuela.
"Today a major and profound restructuring of Petroleos de Venezuela starts, from the presidency down to the lower levels," said Chavez, speaking during his weekly radio program.
Lameda replaces outgoing Hector Ciavaldini, a chemical engineer who held the state monopoly's top job since Aug. 31, 1999.
Chavez's announcement came a day after an agreement between the government and oil workers was signed to end a five-day nationwide strike that had paralyzed the country's petroleum industry. The monopoly, known as PDVSA, is one of the largest suppliers of crude to the United States.