SOUTH American beef processing giant Minerva SA has appointed former JBS Australia chief executive officer Iain Mars as the company’s first global chief executive officer.
Part of the reason behind the appointment is Minerva’s expansion and diversification of its production platform over the past few years, with 50 percent of total production now occurring outside of Brazil. Unlike some other major Brazilian processors, Minerva is heavily export-focused.
The company in 2016 slaughtered 2.3 million cattle in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia, generating 580,000 tonnes of beef.
In 2016, the company took a small interest in the Australian red meat industry, buying Brisbane-based non-packer exporter and trading company, IMTP. At time of purchase, the company said the investment in IMTP created an opportunity to integrate beef and sheepmeat supply from Australia and New Zealand into Minerva’s extensive sales and distribution network around the world.
Mr Mars is currently visiting Australia, and was Beef Central’s guest at its table at the Rural Press Club breakfast held at Beef 2018 in Rockhampton this morning. Other guests attending included Andrew Brazier, global head of beef procurement for McDonald’s, former Red Meat Advisory Council chairman Ross Keane, industry analyst and commentator Simon Quilty and former Australian Cattle Vets president, Dr Enoch Bergman.
Minerva’s appointment of Mr Mars and several other high ranking management positions would bring greater operational synergies, promote best practices, and “expedite the process of geographical arbitration and commercial decisions,” the company said.
While not speaking during Beef 2018, Mr Mars has attended a number of seminars, especially those with sustainability as a key theme. He told Beef Central that South America itself was making rapid progress in moving down the sustainability path, backed by verification programs.
In his new role, Mr Mars will have oversight for beef operations in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, and value-adding business.
Mr Mars first joined Minerva in 2012. He has extensive experience in the processing industry, having worked in the sector for more than 30 years, including two stints in Australia, firstly at the old Darwin export abattoir in the 1970s, and later as CEO of JBS Australia. He has also directed major meat companies in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Argentina, Egypt, Russia and the UK.
Since returning to Minerva in 2012 he has served in a number of roles, including chief operating officer of the company’s Beef Brasil division and most recently, chief commercial officer.