CITGO President Replaced with PDVSA Director Marin

PDVSA has replaced the president and CEO of its U.S. affiliate CITGO Petroleum Corporation. Luis Marin, who was on the local company's board, will take the place of outgoing CITGO head Oswaldo Contreras. Contreras hasn't yet been appointed to a new post and it isn't clear whether he will be.

Marin's place on the board of PDVSA is being taken by Nelson Martinez, who managed the Puerto La Cruz refinery. Another PDVSA board member, Alfredo Riera, "has been retired." His replacement has not yet been named either.

The changes come amid talk that President Hugo Chavez's Fifth Republic Movement political party is trying to install its members in key PDVSA management slots, replacing current company president Ali Rodriguez's Fatherland For All party members. Rodriguez himself has denied rumors he's resigning soon.

Chavez has vowed to bring PDVSA under his control, and dismissed almost half the company's 40,000-strong workforce after they participated in a two-month general strike that began last December.