UPDATE 1-Citgo Petroleum confirms new board, begins CEO search -statement

(Adds details of executive appointments)

HOUSTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp on Friday said it accepted a new board of independent directors and launched a search for a chief executive, in a split with its Venezuelan state-run parent PDVSA .

The move by the eighth largest U.S. refiner is another step in efforts to chart a course for the company and to force Venezuela's Socialist President Nicolas Maduro from office. The United States and dozens of other nations have recognized Venezuelan congress head Juan Guaido as the country's legitimately elected chief.

Citgo's statement confirmed earlier reports naming Luisa Palacios, Rick Esser, Edgar Rincon, Angel Olmeta, Luis Urdaneta and Andres Eloy Padilla as the Houston-based company's new board of directors. Palacios was named chairwoman and Esser will take over day-to-day operations, pending the naming of a new CEO. The statement made no mention of former CEO Asdrubal Chavez.

In addition, Citgo promoted Curtis Rowe to vice president of finance and Karl Schmidt to vice president of supply and marketing. Other executives will continue in their current positions, the statement indicated. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga Editing by James Dalgleish)