Over the weekend, the JBS S.A. board of directors unanimously approved the appointment of founder Jose Batista Sobrinho as the new president, following last week’s arrest of his son and former chief executive officer Welsey Batista. Batista Sobrinho will serve until the end of Wesley’s term in May 2019 and will be advised by a team of JBS executives.
Last week, Wesley was arrested for alleged insider trading that occurred just prior to the company signing a plea bargain agreement back in May. An arrest warrant was also issued for his brother Joesley, but he had already been taken into custody earlier in the week for a separate allegation.
Aguinaldo Ramos Filho, another member of the Batista family, was chosen to replace Wesley's role on the company board.
"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," JBS board chairman Tarek Farahat said. "The new global leadership structure provides continuity and prepares the company for new opportunities ahead.”
On his first day as president, Batista Sobrinho made two new appointments. Gilberto Tomazoni was appointed to the newly established role of global chief operating officer. Tomazoni has been with the company since 2013 and has held positions as president of the poultry division, president of Seara and global president of operations. He has more than 30 years in senior positions in the food industry and is chairman of the board of directors of Pilgrim's Pride Corp.
Batista Sobrinho also appointed Wesley Batista Filho to the position of president of JBS operations in South America, reporting to Gilberto Tomazoni. Batista Filho, who is the son of Wesley Batista, was most recently president of JBS USA's beef division and has held senior leadership positions at JBS in five countries since 2010. He was elected as a statutory director at the board meeting held on Sept. 16, 2017.
In addition, Batista Sobrinho confirmed that André Nogueira will continue in his role as president of JBS USA, a position he has held since 2012. The role includes responsibility for all operations in North America and Australia. Nogueira will report to the COO.
"The creation of the COO position and the new management structure will enable the delivery of increasingly robust results," Batista Sobrinho said. "They are experienced executives with all the qualifications needed to keep JBS focused on continued success."
In a regulatory filing announcing the new appointments, Farahat said JBS is also currently searching for a chief financial officer.