LA PAZ – A vice president of state-owned oil and gas company YPFB will take temporary charge of the firm this week as CEO Carlos Villegas leaves the country for cancer treatment, Bolivian President Evo Morales said Wednesday.
Expressing concern for Villegas’ health, Morales wished him a rapid recovery and criticized media outlets for suggesting that the YPFB boss is using his illness as an excuse to go abroad amid allegations of corruption at the company.
“My respect and admiration to president Carlos Villegas,” Morales said. “He has guaranteed us honesty, work and commitment to Bolivia and it hurts when these health issues appear.”
The government has confirmed support for Villegas as he has traded accusations of corruption with one of his former top aides, Selva Camacho.
Guillermo Acha, who previously managed YPFB-Refinacion, was recently promoted to the post of vice president for national operations and he will run YPFB in the absence of Villegas.
YPFB, Bolivia’s largest state-owned company, has been responsible for overseeing the energy industry since Morales nationalized the sector in May 2006.
Around a dozen transnational energy firms operate in Bolivia under YPFB’s supervision, including Spain’s Repsol, French supermajor Total and Brazil’s Petrobras.