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By Ana Mano
SAO PAULO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - The board of food processor BRF SA has tapped veteran Brazilian executive José Aurélio Drummond Jr to lead a turnaround after a string of losses.
Drummond will take over as chief executive officer from Pedro Faria on Dec. 22, according to a securities filing on Wednesday.
Drummond previously ran Brazilian energy company Eneva SA and the Latin American operations of appliance maker Whirlpool Corp and aluminum producer Alcoa Corp.
In August, BRF said Faria planned to leave by the end of the year, following three straight quarterly losses by the world’s largest chicken exporter beginning in the final three months of 2016.
Faria, a former executive of BRF’s largest shareholder, investment firm Tarpon Investimentos SA, is expected to return there after leaving BRF. Faria became CEO of BRF in 2015, after retail tycoon Abilio Diniz, currently BRF’s chairman, partnered with Tarpon to overhaul management of the food processor.
On his watch, BRF grappled with falling sales, rising costs and a food safety scandal that temporarily shut export markets to Brazilian meatpackers and forced the company to close a plant for nearly a month.
In a letter following the announcement of Faria’s departure, Diniz praised him and said the company had suffered a “perfect storm” of rising grain prices and Brazil’s deepest recession in a century.
The replacement seeks to appease turmoil inside BRF, which kicked off an organizational restructuring and replaced key executives in recent months.
BRF shares are down by more than 14 percent this year.
The company’s third-quarter earnings marked its first quarterly profit in a year.
$1 = 3.22 reais Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Leslie Adler