July 10, 2015

Positive Energy from Brazil's Petrobras Scandal

SMITH BRAIN TRUST -- You know you have a corruption problem when Brazilian prosecutors catch you with nearly $24 million in bribe money stashed in a hidden Monaco account. Such stories have become common at Petrobras, a state-controlled oil company engulfed in an 18-month investigation that already has led to 80 arrests and put previously untouchable powerbrokers on alert. Even Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff remains vulnerable.

Overall, Petrobras leaders diverted $2 billion to their personal accounts, and at least some of that activity occurred while Rousseff served as Petrobras chairwoman. But beneath the growing scandal, another picture emerges of a pioneering company with serious know-how. “If you think about deep-water exploration, they’re probably the leading company,” says Smith School clinical professor Paulo Prochno, a Brazilian native who has taught executive education courses with many Petrobras managers. He shares insights on Petrobras and explains why the company's long-term outlook remains strong in this Smith Brain Trust podcast (13:08).

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The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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