The Brazil-based company appointed Xandó to its board as a replacement for shareholder and former chairman the billionaire Joesley Batista, who resigned last month after signing a plea bargain to settle his role in a corruption scandal.
Xandó joins JBS chairman Tarek Farahat who was recently brought in to, in his own words, “restore trust” in the company that has been hit by a series of scandals.
In a statement about Xandó’s appointment, Farahat said: “I am pleased to welcome Gilberto Xandó to our board. His reputation and experience in the food industry and expertise in trade and finance will be invaluable assets as we work to rebuild trust in our business.”
Xandó’s appointment is a major coup for JBS as the board member spent nearly a decade in senior roles with the company’s rival meat behemoth BRF. As international vice president of BRF’s flagship brand Sadia, Xandó spearheaded expansion in Russia, Chile, and the Middle East and has invaluable insight into BRF boardroom dynamics.
Reporting to Xandó and the JBS board will be Marcelo Proença, the new global head of compliance hired to implement good governance.
“My goal is to improve the compliance programme by making it a model for the market with full internal and external controls which I am confident will ensure a lasting successful company that will evolve greatly in building trust and reputation with stakeholders and, in particular, with employees, markets and society,” Proença said in a statement.
“I believe that my experience is in line with JBS board of directors’ goals in establishing best business practices at JBS.”
Proença is expected to gut the current compliance programme and instil good governance from the ground up. To help him, JBS has hired New York law firm White & Case to help with the implementation.
Harvard Law School graduate, former US Department of Justice prosecutor and current White & Case partner Daniel Fridman said: “The work of White & Case will be important for the governance committee’s success in overseeing the development and implementation of a compliance program that incorporates international best practices and fully meets the company’s obligations.”
Tarek Farahat said the appointment of Proença and White & Case is the first step toward making JBS governance a global benchmark, something he described as “fundamental”.
JBS recently recruited the services of top PR man Lucas van Praag, former Goldman Sachs communications chief, as it looks to rebuild its image after months of damaging scandals.