JBS proposes return of Wesley, Joesley Basista to board

The sons of the founder of JBS stepped down from leadership positions with the company in 2017 amid a corruption scandal.

Roy Graber Headshot
Jbs Booth
Courtesy JBS

Brothers Wesley Batista and Joesley Batista, who stepped down from leadership positions with JBS in 2017, could return to the board of the Brazil-based meat and poultry company.

In a notice to shareholders, the company outlined the agenda for its upcoming Annual Shareholder’s Meeting, scheduled for April 26.

One item on the agenda is a vote to increase the number of board members from nine to 11. If that measure is approved, shareholders will vote for candidates for those two new board positions. The slate of nominees lists only the Batista brothers, who are the sons of company founder and namesake José Batista Sobrinho.

If approved, the brothers, who are both significant shareholders in JBS, would be a larger part of the organization of which they were previously leaders. Joesley was the chairman of JBS and Wesley was the CEO, but in 2017, amid a corruption controversy, both stepped down from their leadership roles. However, both were acquitted of insider trading charges in 2023.

The Batista brothers earlier this year were appointed to the board of the United States-based Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, of which JBS owns the majority of shares.

In addition to its investment in Pilgrim’s Pride, JBS is also a major beef and pork producer in the United States, through its JBS USA subsidiary.

Outside of South America and the U.S., JBS has operations in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

Opposition group formed

An advocacy group called Ban the Batistas formed in November 2023 when JBS announced its intent to list shares through an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company is pursuing a joint listing on the NYSE and Brazil’s São Paulo Stock Exchange (B3).

The group alleges the brothers are “proven masters of corruption,” and that Ban the Batistas was established as a way to fight “to protect American farmers, ranchers, consumers and investors from the risks of a U.S. stock listing by JBS S.A. and the unchecked power grab by its majority shareholders, brothers Joesley and Wesley Batista.”

Upon learning about the proposal to have the brothers back on the board, the group issued a statement, saying the nomination should “send a chilling message to U.S. regulators and investors alike that JBS should not have access to American capital markets,” and in that statement, urged all financial stakeholders to “block planned efforts by JBS to list on the New York Stock Exchange.”

Page 1 of 2149
Next Page