ADM CFO to resign as company faces US government investigation

By Thomson Reuters Apr 22, 2024 | 5:28 PM

By Karl Plume and Ana Mano

(Reuters) – Grain trader Archer-Daniels-Midland said on Monday that Chief Financial Officer Vikram Luthar will resign from his role effective Sept. 30.

Luthar is the highest-level executive to leave the firm since it disclosed accounting issues within its Nutrition division that later triggered two government investigations and forced it to revise six years of financial data.

ADM had put Luthar on administrative leave in January as it launched an internal investigation focused on accounting practices involving the smallest of its three business units.

The company said Luthar will receive $743,419 in cash performance incentive award for 2023 and shares awarded in 2021 that were tied to company performance. He will remain at ADM in a nonexecutive capacity until his resignation date to “provide transitional support” as the company searches for a new CFO, ADM said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

“The decision to move forward in this direction was made after careful consideration of the future of our company and how to best position ADM for success,” CEO Juan Luciano said in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Luthar joined ADM from General Motors in 2004, rising to become the CFO of ADM’s Nutrition unit in 2020 and later to company CFO in 2022.

He oversaw one of ADM’s most explosive periods of growth as the more than century-old grains merchant shifted from a crop trader and processor to a diversified food ingredients and nutrition company. The transition appealed to investors and helped ADM boost earnings to record highs in 2022.

But a string of market shocks exposed some growing pains in the new division.

In March, ADM corrected six years of financial data after an internal investigation found some sales between business units within the company were not recorded properly. ADM said it had overstated annual operating profit in the Nutrition segment by as much as 9.2%.

ADM shares closed down slightly on Monday and remain around 8% below levels just before news of the accounting issues surfaced in January.

Government investigations are not evidence of wrongdoing and do not necessarily result in charges.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago and Ana Mano in Sao Paulo and Tanay Dhumal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Matthew Lewis)