José Batista Júnior has been president of JBS, which claims to be the world’s largest meat-processing company, for more than two decades and comes to the helm of the company in the midst of a leadership crisis.
His billionaire brothers Wesley Batista, CEO and president of JBS, and chairman Joesley Batista have both been suspended from all corporate roles following a state investigation into alleged corruption.
A judge in the 10th district court of the federal capital in Brasília temporarily suspended the brothers earlier in September as an investigation, dubbed ‘Operation Greenfield’, looks into claims of financial mismanagement at J&F Investimentos SA.
The decision to appoint José Batista Júnior was made at a meeting of JBS’ board of directors on 13 September. José Batista Sobrinho, a board member and founder of JBS, has been made chairman of the board.
“I take on the role of president of JBS with a commitment to give continuity to the sustainable growth of the company,” said José Batista Júnior in a press statement.
“JBS has a robust global and regional business structure, with experienced senior executives and a solid corporate governance.”
JBS said in the statement that both Wesley Batista and Joesley Batista have told the company they intend to appeal against the judge’s decision, which has seen both executives suspended until the investigation is over.
JBS said it would keep shareholders informed of any developments related to the investigation.
The business has previously publicly stated that it was not directly harmed by a string of police investigations in July 2016. But claims of financial mismanagement date back to January 2016, when nine people connected to JBS and Banco Rural were accused of “crimes against the financial system”.