Pedro Parente has been appointed CEO of embattled Brazilian meat company BRF, three months after authorities suspended its exports to the European Union (EU).
The former CEO of Petrobras – the state petroleum company – is a popular choice, whose first priority will be to steady a company in turmoil.
BRF’s last CEO, José Aurélio Drummond Jr, resigned in April after just four months in charge when Brazilian authorities temporarily suspended the company’s exports to the EU amid continuing fallout from the so-called ‘carne fraca’ scandal.
Parente was, until recently, Petrobras CEO.
BRF officials were accused of paying inspectors and politicians to overlook potentially contaminated or rotten meat, which was due for export.
The consequences have cut deep and hard: chairman Abilio Diniz and CEO Pedro Faria both left the company, and in May the company’s first-quarter trading statement included a loss of BRL 114 million ($32 million) despite rising domestic sales, partly as a result of the trade bans and the reduction of production capacity at five of its facilities.
According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the company has seen its market value fall by BRL 12.8 billion ($3.63 billion) – the equivalent of 43% – since the beginning of the year. O Globo puts the company’s idle capacity at 20%.
But shares in the company jumped by more than 3% on speculation that Parente would be placed in charge.
Parente will serve as both chairman and global CEO for at least the first six months, taking over from interim CEO Lorival Nogueira Luz Jr.
“Parente will prioritise the strategic and financial planning process; will be dedicated, directly, to the preparation of his successor; and will lead the company’s reorganisation, especially the fulfillment of the key positions and issues related to its governance,” BRF said.
Nogueira Luz Jr. will take the newly created position of global chief operation officer, taking charge of the company’s operations and reporting directly to Parente.
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