Petrobras chief executive Maria das Graças Foster and five other senior executives of the Brazilian oil company have resigned in the wake of an ongoing corruption scandal.
The departures sent shares in the state-run oil giant rising by more than six per cent in early trading in Sao Paulo, extending yesterday’s gains of more than 15 per cent on reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff had made a decision to dismiss Foster.
A new leadership team will be decided at a meeting of board members due to be held on Friday.
Police claim to have uncovered price-fixing, bribery, and a political kickbacks scheme which is alleged to have diverted at least $3.7bn (£2.4bn) and up to $28bn (£18.4bn) away from Petrobras.
A number of former senior executives and more than 80 people are facing charges and more than 200 businesses are being investigated.
The company is also being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The scandal, which has wiped $22.7bn (£14.9bn) from the value of its assets, has become a major crisis for recently re-elected Rousseff.