Beyond Meat (BYND) has suspended its Chief Operating Officer (COO) Doug Ramsey after he was arrested this past weekend for allegedly biting a man’s nose.
The alleged incident took place inside an Arkansas parking garage following a University of Arkansas football game, according to a preliminary police report obtained by local television station KNWA/Fox 24. The report noted that Ramsey allegedly “punched through the back windshield” of another vehicle during a road rage altercation after the vehicle hit the front tire of the food executive’s car.
Ramsey, who had just joined the company in December, was charged with terroristic threatening and third-degree battery, according to court records.
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the company said that Jonathan Nelson, senior vice president of manufacturing operations, will oversee operations activities on an interim basis in the meantime.
Ramsey’s arrest is just the latest PR headache for Beyond Meat, which has also dealt with a sinking stock price amid various operational headwinds.
The plant-based meat maker slashed its global workforce by 4% and cut its full-year guidance after reporting a wider-than-expected loss in its latest quarter. The company also missed on revenue, blaming the impact of sales to liquidation channels in addition to foreign exchange headwinds and increased discounts.
“We recognize progress is taking longer than we expected,” CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement at the time.
Beyond’s leadership team noted that its operating environment continues to be affected by near-term uncertainty related to macroeconomic issues, including inflation and rising interest rates, in addition to COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions.
On the earnings call, the company revealed that it sees a delay in post-COVID resumption of growth, and that shopping patterns have shifted away from plant-based meat with consumers largely trading down.
Analysts expect Beyond Meat’s sales and profits to remain volatile until the company makes greater strides in containing operating expenses.
“The pursuit of growth opportunities such as jerky is creating operational inefficiencies and higher costs, burning through cash,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus said in a note, adding that “elevated supply-chain costs and production challenges may weigh on margins.”
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