In a chat with employees worldwide, José Batista Sobrinho, Wesley and Joesley Batista describe in detail the company’s growth trajectory and present the vision of its future
This Tuesday (Aug 1st), JBS initiates the celebration of the company’s 70 years’ existence, with an event for its 260,000 employees. In a live chat with all the units in Brazil and around the world, the founders José Batista Sobrinho, Wesley Batista and Joesley Batista recalled the company’s growth trajectory, from a small butcher’s shop in Goiás to one of the world’s largest food companies. Around 700 employees were present at the event at the head office of the J&F Institute in São Paulo.
The founders emphasized the importance of the team created over the years in building the company’s success story. “You cannot run a major business without exceptional people around you. All this has only been possible with people that make a difference”, Wesley Batista stated. “Our history is built on many milestones, but what explains the success of JBS is the fact that we have managed to achieve and consolidate our culture. And this is what unites our employees in so many different countries. It’s what they all have in common”, Joesley added.
The gathering was divided into four segments with a duration of almost two-and-a-half hours: beginning, growth, internationalization, and future. Questions from employees in different units around the world were the catalyst of the gathering, exploring stories about the company over the years. At the age of 89, José Batista Sobrinho, better known as Zé Mineiro, talked about the company’s beginnings in Anápolis, State of Goiás, in 1953, and gave curious insights into how he fell in love with his wife Flora, who also told her side of the story of the company’s origin and talked about the relationship with her sons.
Recalling the move to Brasília in1957, Zé Mineiro emphasized the importance of hard work in building this history. “I was a tough learning curve, and it was really worth it. We would wake up at 2 am every day, but today we can see that it was all worth the effort.” He also highlighted the importance of commitment and discipline. “To achieve what you are aiming for requires determination, discipline and perseverance. Throughout my life I’ve learned that in order to progress, we have to be different. That is why I have always devoted myself entirely to delivering the best results for my customers, and this is the legacy I want to bequeath to our employees and colleagues”, the founder asserted.
After the global expansion, accelerated in the wake of the IPO (initial public offering of shares on the São Paulo stock exchange in 2007), the diversification of proteins and geographical locations has enabled JBS to create an extensive portfolio of brands recognized for excellence and innovation, like Friboi, Seara, Swift, Pilgrim’s, Moy Park and Primo, to name but a few. The company continues to pursue the objective of evolving in key markets. “An example of this is our investment in aquaculture, with the production of salmon in Australia”, said Wesley Batista.
“When I look back at the entire history of JBS, from when my father started in Anápolis to what we have built so far, I can state that we are living proof that nothing is impossible”, said Joesley Batista. “Getting up early, working hard, grabbing opportunities and, principally, having the humility to learn is the major secret of success. By focusing on discipline and determination, we can get to wherever we want”, he said.
For Joesley, one of the most important moments for the company was when JBS went public in 2007. “That was a unique moment in our history. We had been growing with our own resources, with no support, when we were suddenly approached by a US bank, which was a surprise to us”, said Joesley. “We embarked on that process and, at that time, ours the largest IPO on the Brazilian stock exchange up until that moment, which was a vitally important turning point for the company. We began to be recognized by new audiences and we could see the value the market placed on our organization. It was amazing!”, he stated.
During the event, Wesley Batista explained the company’s core values: “What makes the difference is not our material assets, rather our human capital. Counting on exceptional people aligned with our culture and values is what spurs us on to make a difference in the market”, he said. “My father began literally with nothing, with very few resources for that time, and managed to achieve everything we have today. That is why we are really happy to have him with us, following his entire trajectory and that of my mother, Dona Flora. It’s a tremendous honor to be able to learn from, experience and ensure the continuity of this story that required such a lot of effort at the outset”, Wesley asserted.
Gilberto Tomazoni, Global CEO of JBS, opened the gathering. “I am very proud to be part of this company that is so important for us and which, over these years, has been working to provide consumers with the best products and services”, he asserted. “When I started at JBS in 2012, I created an emotional connection with the company because we share the same values. As a result, I became passionate about living every single challenge, and I can state that the best steps in my career I took here, because JBS allows each of us to live our dreams independently and with possibilities”, said the CEO.
Founded in 1953 by Zé Mineiro, JBS is today one of Brazil’s largest employers, with 143,000 employees, and over 260,000 on all continents. The company currently produces beef, poultry, pork, lamb, salmon and plant-based, with over 400 production units across 24 countries.
“I am extremely grateful to all our colleagues and employees who have embarked on this dream with me and who devote themselves day after day to raising the level of delivery to our customers. Today, as I approach the age of 90, I feel fulfilled for having built good connections and a company capable of helping so many families”, stated Zé Mineiro. “I am optimistic about the future of JBS, because with this team
we can go even further. I can say that it will only be a consequence of what we are doing every day, and none of this would have been possible without the participation of each of you”, said the founder on bringing the celebration to a close.