BRF has announced that it its newly-appointed CEO José Aurélio Drummond Jr has resigned just three days before shareholders meet to select a new board of directors.
Current chief financial officer Lorival Nogueira Luz Jr has been named as interim CEO.
The news comes days after the European Union (EU) revealed plans to ban imports from 12 plants operated by BRF which were previously allowed to export products to EU member states.
Drummond, who previously served as chief executive of appliance maker Whirlpool, took over from Pedro de Andrade Faria at the end of December 2017.
During Pedro de Andrade Faria’s time as chief, BRF was implicated in an extensive food corruption scandal in which health officials were accused of taking bribes to allow unsafe meat to be exported overseas – including some that may have been rotten, or contaminated with salmonella.
JBS and smaller company Grupo Peccin were also investigated by Brazilian police. The affair was dubbed Carne Fraca – or ‘weak flesh’ – by the country’s media.
After the EU announcement on Thursday, Brazilian authorities launched an appeal to the World Trade Organization urging the EU not to ban poultry from other Brazilian manufacturers.
In its full-year financial figures released in February, BRF saw its net revenues decrease by 0.8% to BRL 33.47 billion ($10.33 billion). Its gross profit shrank by 8.3% to BRL 6.9 billion ($2.13 billion) as it was also hit by global restrictions on the import of its meat.
The company said that “around 50%” of adverse results for 2017 arose from the weak flesh operation; at one point at least 35 major economies had restricted imports of Brazilian meat.
Last year, BRF launched its Kidelli discount brand in Brazil after restrictions imposed by the country’s anti-trust authority were lifted. Consisting of 13 products including sausages and beef burgers, it targeted at cost-conscious consumers, who account for around 30% of Brazil’s processed food market.
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