top of page

7 Questions on Leadership with Jose Angel Pereira

Name: Jose Angel Pereira

Title: Owner and CEO

Organisation: Coach as a Survivor LLC

unfathomable story and mission by clicking here or visiting


Jose Angel Pereira was wrongfully detained and held captive in Venezuela for nearly five years, from November 21, 2017, to October 1, 2022. Pereira was one member of the so-called CITGO6. His only crime was that he is an American. Before he was taken hostage, he spent thirty-five years as an oil company executive and CEO of Citgo Petroleum (a US-based refineries complex and broad gas station distribution center).

Pereira obtained a degree in Business Administration from the Universidad de Oriente (UDO) in Venezuela in 1985. He joined Corpoven, S.A. (now Petróleos de Venezuela-PDVSA (a Venezuelan State-owned company), the fifth-largest oil company in the world at the time.

In 1989, he completed his Master of Business Administration at Florida International University through a joint program with Universidad De Oriente (UDO). In 2012, he received a Diploma in International Taxation from Santiago de Compostela University in Spain.

Throughout his career, Pereira held several managerial positions in various PDVSA subsidiaries worldwide. He was assigned to numerous Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) JVs with Ente Nationale Idrocarburi (ENI), including ENI—Italy, Inpex—Japan, China National Petroleum Company (CNPC)—China, Statoil—Norway, Total—France, and Chevron, Conoco, and Exxon—US. He was the CFO of CVP (a PDVSA affiliate of the international JVs) and rose to become the CEO of Citgo Petroleum, replacing Nelson Martinez, who later became the Ministry of Petroleum and the President of PDVSA.

Pereira was part of the great oil and petrochemical projects in Venezuela in the 80s, launching PDVSA to become one of the top five companies in the international oil business. He actively participated in several managerial positions, including the "Apertura Petrolera” (privatization of the oil fields in Venezuela) in the 90s—the most extensive privatization of state-owned companies at that time. Pereira was integral in directing the internationalization of PDVSA in the late 90s and early 2000s and the re-nationalization of PDVSA in 2006-2007. He was also part of the PDVSA team that created Corporación Venezolana de Petróleos (CVP). This affiliate managed more than forty JVs with international oil companies in Venezuela. His strategic leadership promoted him to the US-based CFO and CEO positions of Citgo Petroleum, which he held until his retirement.

While at the top of his career as Citgo's CEO (the sixth biggest refinery complex in the US), Pereira was called to attend a business meeting in Caracas at Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA)—(the parent company of Citgo)—headquarters. On that day, the Venezuelan regime accused him of corruption, espionage, and treason, among other false charges, and captured and imprisoned him. This nightmare lasted 1,775 days—four years and eight long months.

After the United States Government orchestrated his release, Pereira turned his focus to advocating and supporting hostage families enduring similar nightmares and broken processes. His experience made clear that what he survived can help others struggling to overcome, thrive, and succeed in any circumstance. He now speaks to spread a message of resilience, hope, faith, and survival. Pereira is proof that we can conquer anything. He works to combine his career and life experiences with his strategic planning and relentless mindset approach to coach others through seemingly insurmountable situations. He calls this program: LIFE PILLS FOR A SURVIVAL GUIDE (LPSG).

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Jose's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Been a leader is a constant challenge to keep your self grounded as a human being to motivate inspire and connect with your teams

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I had more than 35 years in leadership roles since mid 80’s. As a Venezuelans borne at that time the Venezuelan Oil Kndustry was booming and was the5thbjn the world and since I hounded it after graduation,I developed a long career working with international joint ventures with High rank end international Okl and Gas Companies and having the opportunity to exchange with multicultural partners and coworkers enhanced my leadership skills

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I dedicated the first hour after been an earlier bird to walk my two pugs outdoors

the I go to the gym to exercise

I begin my office work reviewing my agenda and preparing my response to emails and calls an preparing to my online or in person meeting that are part of my day my agenda

At the end of the day I stop and go to swing in the night and repeat the night wok of my dogs

I true to go to bed early night to begin my daily routine

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

I am always going back to the basics that you need to be a human being connecting to people ,showing strong empathy,communication,ethics,passion , vision and inspire your teams

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Men in a search of a meaning of Victor frankl showed me the lesson that you as a man have to friend the purpose of you life connect to you superior higher power

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Be a real human being

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I remember in my early career in the 90’s having a CEO thta war an early bird that walked all the 7 story office buildings in the morning saying hello to all employees and I learned that lesson and incorporated it as a model and she decades after I became a CeO I did the same practice. One day in a meeting with a major international contractor that was revamping a refinery , came the CRO of that contractor and was that former CEO that inspired me and I said to him that I adopted his pre active and his answer was:

“Jose, it takes only half hour to do that and you have a complete picture of what’s going on the company” “why not doing it?

I learned that day that this guy was a true leader

bottom of page