"I am proud to resume leadership of the company we successfully established in 1953," said Batista Sobrinho in a statement. "I have complete confidence in the performance of our leadership, our management team and in our 235,000 employees worldwide who have made JBS the success it is today."
The board has also established a global leadership team to provide Batista Sobrinho counsel and advice. The team includes Gilberto Tomazoni, global president of operations; André Nogueira, president of JBS USA; and Wesley Batista Filho, who currently leads the beef division of JBS USA. The team will continue to serve in their current roles and maintain their current responsibilities, as well as serving as global leadership team members.
Tomazoni has been with the company since 2013 and has more than 30 years of experience in leading positions in the food industry. He’s responsible for all of the company's operations worldwide. Nogueira has been with the company since 2007. Before his current role as president of JBS USA, he served as CFO of JBS USA and CEO of JBS Australia. Batista Filho has held several leadership positions at JBS in five countries since 2010.
"At this important moment for the company, the highest priority defined by the board of directors is to ensure the continued success of the business and the prosperity of employees, shareholders and all stakeholders," said Tarek Farahat, chairman of the board of directors of JBS in a statement. "The new global leadership structure provides continuity and prepares the company for new opportunities ahead.”
The Board of Directors also agreed to identify and select a CFO at JBS SA. "The selection of a new CFO will be an important step in strengthening the company's governance," says Farahat. The board also appointed Aguinaldo Gomes Ramos Filho, an executive with experience in the operations of JBS in Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, to replace Wesley Batista as a board member.
The election by the board comes amidst the ongoing criminal cases involving JBS executives including Joesley Batista, former chairman of JBS SA, accused of bribery and corruption, and Wesley Batista, the former CEO, accused of insider trading. Wesley Batista was recently arrested for allegedly reneging on the terms of a plea agreement with Brazilian authorities.
Wesley Batista’s arrest came days after Joesley Batista surrendered to legal authorities after the Brazilian Supreme Court approved a warrant for his arrest on charges he reneged on the terms of the same plea deal. The plea stipulated the two had 120 days to provide prosecutors any evidence related to alleged bribes of politicians and other government officials.
Federal prosecutors allege that Joesley and Wesley Batista authorized the sale of millions of JBS shares weeks before submitting evidence of bribes paid to nearly 2,000 Brazilian officials, knowing that the disclosures would cause the company’s share value to fall and spark a sell-off on the Brazilian stock exchange. As a result, trading was suspended temporarily, and the Batistas later repurchased the shares at a significantly lower price, prosecutors allege.