New Americanas executive asks the company for attention to avoid mistakes

New Americanas executive asks the company for attention to avoid mistakes

In a public hearing this Tuesday (28) at the Senate Economic Affairs Committee (CAE), the new CEO (executive director) of Americanas, Leonardo Coelho Pereira, stressed that the retailer “can no longer make mistakes” if it wants to survive. In January of this year, the company entered into judicial recovery after declaring tax inconsistencies of R$ 20 billion and debts of around R$ 43 billion.

The case raised suspicions of fraud and is under investigation. “Americanas, after the judicial reorganization, can no longer make mistakes”, said Pereira.

When talking about the judicial recovery plan presented by the company, the executive said that it has the possibility of overcoming the crisis. According to Pereira, compared to other Brazilian retail plans, Americanas is much better, it was built by several hands and has already managed to gather creditors. “What Americanas proposes is to readjust that ‘imbalance’ that occurred in its financial statements. What is done is to equate the amount of debt that the company is able to pay, in view of its cash generation capacity”, he explained.

Pereira reinforced that there is a possibility of recovery for Americanas. “It is a resilient asset, made up of 40,000 people, which has endured a lot of bad behavior over the last 45 days and continues to generate jobs and revenues,” he told the senators.

Still in the Senate, the executive director of Americanas admitted that the retailer does not have “more capacity to raise funds through the financial system”. “With this contribution from the reference shareholders [R$ 10 bilhões], we have a strategy for Americanas to continue operating,” he said. “We had no mass layoffs, nor mass store closures. We are trying to find ways to recover the value of this asset,” she added.

lack of transparency

Also present at the hearing in the Senate, the former executive president of the company, Sérgio Rial, said that the management of Miguel Gutierrez created difficulties for the succession and the disclosure of information about the real situation of the company. Amid criticism of Gutierrez, who commanded the company for 20 years and did not respond to the senators’ invitation to provide clarification, Rial spoke about the short period he stayed as CEO and the reasons that led him to leave the position.

In January, about 10 days after being sworn in, Rial resigned as CEO of Americanas. He said there was no transition of any kind. “From the 4th to the 11th, I didn’t receive anything on paper. I would extract, drop by drop, the information day after day with the CFO. There was no predisposition to explain everything that happened and how it happened, none of that. What I did know is that the company had far more bank debt than it had reported. And what I didn’t know: how did they manage to do this for so long and why?”, he emphasized.

Rial recalled that he had 21 meetings with Gutierrez in which he expressed concern about a possible dual command of the company in the transition period. In that period, Rial said he only visited one of the company’s distribution centers and a few stores with the then-president of the company. “Never, never, so that I could understand prospectively the size of the challenge, mainly financial, that I would be facing”, he reported.

According to Rial, his predecessor, Miguel Gutierrez, did not want him to participate in the company’s year-end closing meeting. “The information was very controlled by him and his board,” said Rial.


According to the executive, the PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC audit “was surprised, not to say shocked”, to be informed of the existence of an accounting gap in the retailer’s accounts. Rial said PwC was informed of the issue on Jan. 9, two days before the leak was disclosed to the market. Earlier, the company’s own audit committee showed surprise, according to Rial’s report.

The PwC representative was invited to participate in the hearing, but did not attend – public hearings do not have the power to summon participants. At the opening of the hearing, Senator Otto Alencar (PSD-BA) said he considered PwC responsible for the financial collapse of Americanas.


The public hearing was also attended by the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), João Pedro Barroso do Nascimento. “The CVM set up a task force with several superintendencies to investigate this episode in cooperation with other bodies. CVM is in constant dialogue with the AGU, the Attorney General’s Office, through the PRF-2”, said Barroso.

So far, 12 administrative proceedings and two administrative inquiries have been initiated”, informed João Pedro Barroso do Nascimento, who considered the case “very serious”.

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