Brazil’s food giant BRF names new chief executive officer

BRAZIL – BRF, one of the biggest food companies in the world, has named Pedro Parente as the new chief executive officer with the hope that the new CEO will give a successful turnaround.

According to SeekingAlpha, the government commission; which approved the appointment, said the nomination of the new CEO faces no conflict of interest with Parente’s previous job as CEO of Petrobas.

As CEO, Parente will have to deal with debt levels that are among the highest in the industry after a string of losses, the fallout of a major food-safety scandal that wrought a ban by Europe and antidumping tariffs by China.

The food company has faced countless woes over the last years, to which Parente is expected to give a turnaround for the failing company.

The stock fell by almost 50 percent over the past year to the lowest level in almost a decade, and the company lost its investment-grade rating.

The job bears similarities to Parente’s task at Petrobras, as he was credited with turning around the energy company at a time when it was shackled with debt, corruption and mismanagement.

He was praised in financial markets for his plans to sell assets, reduce costs, recover cash flow and implement a new and profitable fuel price policy.

Parente, who was previously a government minister and top manager at crop trader Bunge Ltd., is experienced in Brazil’s agriculture and food industry — a skill that was missing among the previous top executives at BRF.

The company has been looking for a new CEO since Jose Drummond Jr. quit in April after just four months on the job.

Interim CEO Lorival Nogueira Luz was named Chief Operating Officer.

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