Embattled JBS CEO Wesley Batista sidestepped questions about the possibility of him being told to resign from his leadership position and instead focused attention to recent accomplishments of the company.
Batista spoke on August 15 during the company’s conference call to discuss the financial results of the second quarter of fiscal year 2017. That was the first earnings call the company has hosted since a corruption scandal in which Batista, and his brother Joesley Batista, admitted to bribing Brazilian politicians.
Joesley Batista at the time served as chairman of the JBS board, but he has resigned from the board.
Tarek Farahat was elected to replace Joesley as board chairman, and José Batista Sobrinho, father of the Batista brothers, was selected to replace Wesley as vice chairman. Wesley Batista was allowed to remain as the CEO of JBS. He has also since stepped down from the Pilgrim’s board.
During the conference call, the CEO was asked about an upcoming meeting with JBS’ No. 2 shareholder, Brazilian bank BNDES, which has stated it wants to sue Wesley and ban him from the management of JBS, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Wesley didn’t directly address the possibility of him being ousted as CEO, and instead described the meeting as an opportunity.
“The company and its administration are looking forward to the meeting to have the opportunity to show and demonstrate to shareholders all advancements and progress made in this short time frame,” he said. “I’m sure shareholders will focus … on the best interests of the company.”
Since the corruption scandal became known, JBS has:
- Hired former USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Alfred V. Almanza as the company’s global head of food safety and quality assurance
- Sold its beef assets in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to Minerva for US$300 million
- Announced plans to sell Lakeside Feeders to MCF Holdings for US$39.6 million
- Sought buyers for JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, Moy Park and Vigor
- Eliminated 880,000 empty truck miles, reducing 3.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions through a partnership with CHEP
- Achieved a net income of BRL309.8 million (US$97 million) for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017.
JBS CEO May Oppose Calls to Step Down in Brazil
SÃO PAULO -- The chief executive of Brazilian meat giant JBS SA signaled Tuesday he may resist calls to step down even after admitting to participating in a multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe politicians and government officials.