SAO PAULO, July 6 (Reuters) – Brazil’s BRF SA has opened new senior vice president slots to help Chief Executive Officer Pedro Faria run the world’s No. 1 poultry exporter, which has been beset by two consecutive quarters of losses and fallout from a food safety scandal.
In a securities filing on Thursday, BRF said the reorganization would entail 14 vice presidencies reporting directly to Faria. Previously, BRF had five senior vice president positions and six general managers with vice president status, according to a company spokesman.
The reorganization will allow BRF to group Asian, European, Americas and African commercial operations into an international division that will be overseen by Simon Cheng, until recently sole head of Asia operations.
BRF will also have vice presidents looking after Brazil, halal food division OneFoods Holdings Inc and the Southern Cone separately, the filing said.
The move underscores efforts by Chairman Abilio Diniz to arrest weak operational performance and rising debt that led to BRF’s first ever annual loss last year. Management at the São Paulo-based food processor has been working with a consultancy firm on a strategy to reignite growth, especially in Brazil.
In addition, BRF’s operations were disrupted by a federal police probe in March, which found several food processing firms bribing inspectors to overlook food safety rules.
Common shares fell less than 0.1 percent to 39.06 reais at open in the São Paulo Stock Exchange. The company’s shares are down 19 percent this year, reflecting concern over BRF’s rising debt and failure to tame costs and reduce waste in Brazil.
After losing $140 million in the fourth quarter, Faria and Diniz announced a management overhaul. BRF lost $87 million in the first quarter after the food safety scandal forced it to shut a plant for several weeks. ($1 = 3.2883 reais) (Reporting by Ana Mano and Gabriela Mello; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, Lisa Von Ahn and Frances Kerry)