YPF Is Said to Favor Finance Chief Daniel Gonzalez as New CEO

(Bloomberg) -- Daniel Gonzalez Casartelli, a former banker who is leading asset sales at YPF SA as chief financial officer, is favored to become the next CEO of the Argentine oil and gas producer, people with knowledge of the situation said.

YPF Chairman Miguel Angel Gutierrez put forward Gonzalez as his top candidate for the job, said the people, who asked not to be named because his appointment still needs to be confirmed by the state-controlled company’s board.

YPF declined to comment. Government spokesmen didn’t immediately reply to calls and emails requesting comment.

YPF Is Said to Favor Finance Chief Daniel Gonzalez as New CEO

Gonzalez’s appointment as chief executive officer would consolidate a move to have the company run by finance experts after Ricardo Darre, an oil industry veteran, resigned from the position in August. YPF is currently run by Gutierrez, a founding partner at the Rohatyn Group, and a six-person committee. Gonzalez is a member of the committee.

Gonzalez would be appointed as soon as March, according to the people. His proposal has the backing of Mario Quintana, President Mauricio Macri’s deputy cabinet chief, they said.

Gonzalez is an ex-head of Latin America mergers and acquisitions at Bank of America Corp. His efforts to sell assets since Macri took office about two years ago follow years of big spending and fuel prices that were kept artificially low by the government. The populist policies from the previous administration led the company’s total debt to double to $8.7 billion during Gonzalez’s almost six years as CFO.

His appointment would open a selection process internally and externally for a replacement CFO. Luis Sas, YPF’s current head of M&A, would be a top contender for the position, the people said. Gonzalez and Sas are leading a divestment plan of non-core assets.

Gutierrez wants to transform YPF into a broader energy company focused not only on oil and gas but also on power generation. At the same time, YPF is ramping up production at Vaca Muerta, one of the world’s biggest shale formations.

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