Fresh Del Monte CFO Contreras resigns after more than a decade in the post

March 20 , 2019

The company's incoming CFO Eduardo Guarita Bezerra was responsible for financial integration at Monsanto when it was acquired by Bayer.

The presence of Fresh Del Monte veteran Richard Contreras will surely be missed when he leaves the company on April 12, making way for former Monsanto executive Eduardo Guarita Bezerra.

Contreras has been with the group since taking up the role of controller, North America in 1999, and over time he rose up the ranks to obtain his current roles of CFO and senior VP in May, 2008.

The executive held these roles through both challenging and buoyant times, including when the company's share price hit an all-time high of US$66.86, but the price is worth less than half that now. 

The last two years have been difficult for the Florida-based company, with the benefits of fruitful strategic acquisitions of companies like Mann Packing offset by cost pressures in other segments of the business.

Last year Fresh Del Monte ran at a loss of US$21.9 million, a result that for the leading pineapple trader was not helped by port delays in Central America.

The recent news comes 2.5 years after another Fresh Del Monte veteran, the company's former president Hani El-Naffy, announced his exit.

Contreras will continue to serve in his present capacity until March 25, 2019, when Bezerra will formally take over the roles. The outgoing executive will stay on to help with the transition until April 12.

Bezerra will also serve as Fresh Del Monte's principal financial officer and principal accounting officer.

"Mr. Bezerra, age 44, most recently was Global Finance Integration Lead at Monsanto Company, a leading global provider of agricultural products, from January 2017 until February 2019, where he was responsible for, among other things, the financial integration associated with Monsanto Company’s acquisition by Bayer AG," the company said in an SEC filing. 

"In addition, Mr. Bezerra previously served at Monsanto Company as International Business Chief Financial Officer and Head of Global Finance Shared Services from September 2014 until December 2016 and as Brazil Chief Financial Officer from 2009 until August 2014.

"Mr. Bezerra also served in multiple financial, commercial and strategic roles internationally during his tenure of over 20 years with Monsanto Company, including in Brazil, Argentina, Central American and the United States."

Bezerra will receive an initial annual base salary of $395,000, and will also be eligible to participate in other compensation and benefits programs. In 2017, Contreras' total salary was $992,957. 

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