JBS Australia chief executive Iain Mars will move back to the company’s South American operations in a major management change for the world’s largest beef processor.
Mr Mars, 53, has led the development and redirection of JBS’s Australian operations since it purchased the former Australia Meat Holdings assets four years ago. Through both acquisition and infrastructure development, JBS Australia is now more than twice the size it was in 2007.
Mr Mars is regarded internally within JBS ranks as something of a specialist in business building and development, and for that reason he and the company formed the view that the time is now right for a change of leadership in Australia.
He said he had thoroughly enjoyed his time working in the “great country of Australia.”
“It’s a place in which I have always dreamed about working. For me, the real challenge is in building new businesses and while I have greatly enjoyed growing and shaping the JBS operations in Australia, I believe that there is now an opportunity for someone else to develop the business in its next stage,” he said.
It is understood Mr Mars will continue to work in a senior management role within the JBS SA operations in Brazil, alongside chief executive Wesley Batista.
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A replacement as CEO of the company’s Australian operations has already been made.
Assuming the role will be Andre Nogueira, previously chief financial officer with the JBS US division. He has already arrived in Australia and the management transition will begin next week, with Mr Mars assisting in that process for some time.
Mr Mars departure from JBS’s Australian operations will inevitably mean he will have to resign as a director of Meat and Livestock Australia. He was appointed to the MLA board in November 2009, succeeding Paul Troja, former head of Rockdale Beef, as a director with specialist experience in the field of processing.
His three-year first term term would have lapsed at this year's AGM in November.
In a statement prepared following Beef Central's weekend inquiry, MLA chairman Rob Anderson said the Board of MLA was skills-based, with the appropriate range of skills, knowledge and experience necessary to govern the company.
"Mr Mars was elected to the board by MLA members based on his skills and knowledge of the industry, including extensive executive management experience in major red meat production markets. His pending departure from the role of JBS Australia chief executive does not immediately affect his position on the MLA board, where his responsibility is to the MLA members – Australian red meat producers."
"The MLA Board will remain in discussions with Mr Mars as his future employment situation develops and will review its position in line with the MLA constitution should circumstances require," the statement said.
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