Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Maria das Graças Silva Foster: The Iron Lady of Oil

Marked by groundbreaking achievements and notable contributions, Maria das Graças Silva Foster’s journey in the global energy industry embodies resilience, determination, and a steadfast commitment to excellence.

After its initial appearance in Passions Vol. 56, this article finds new life in the digital realm of VOICE OF ASIA.

When she was named CEO of Petrobras in February 2012, Maria das Gracas Silva Foster made history as the first woman to head a major oil & gas company. With a majority stake owned by the Brazilian government, Petrobras was the 8th largest company in the world by market capitalisation and a major contributor to Brazil’s economy. As such, Foster was effectively the second-most powerful woman in Brazil after President Dilma Rouseff at the time. Brought up in one of the poorest favelas (shanty towns) outside Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s, Foster overcame an environment ridden by crime and poverty to obtain a degree in Chemical Engineering and a masters in Nuclear Engineering – a rarity for women at that time. Boasting 30-years of experience at Petrobras, Maria das Gracas Silva Foster’s reputation in a male-dominated industry like oil & gas and a patriarchal society like Brazil is owing to her not being one to back down from a challenge. Little wonder they call her ‘The Iron Lady of Oil’.

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