Bloomberg Businessweek

Can He Fix Pemex?

Investors ask if the boss of Mexico’s most important company has his priorities right

“Will passenger Octavio Romero Oropeza please come to the ticket counter,” blares a loudspeaker at Veracruz airport, briefly drowning out the clank of ancient air conditioners and the cacophony of passengers grousing about delayed departures.

The chief executive officer of Petróleos Mexicanos is running late—again. That’s a feature, not a bug. One of Romero’s predecessors, Emilio Lozoya, regularly commandeered a company helicopter to commute to work and to travel to nearby destinations, racking up a bill for 9.8 million pesos ($511,000), according to a federal audit.

Romero is on the front line of a campaign by his boss, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to rid the country of endemic corruption. The strategy involves leading by austere example, and that’s what Romero is trying to do at Mexico’s most important company.

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