CEO Loses His Nuts

Diamond Foods, the snack food giant which built its empire on almonds and other nuts, canned their CEO and CFO after “an internal audit that revealed improper accounting of payments to walnut growers, resulting in the public company having to restate two years of earnings,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The internal investigation had turned up $80 million in payments to walnut growers which had not been accounted for. The SEC and Justice Department are investigating now. Stock prices dropped by about 75% during the four months prior to Michael Mendes being ousted. Executive Paywatch says Mendes earned $4,342,910 in 2010.

Michael Mendes had the company on an acquisition tear, having taken over Pop Secret and Kettle chips brands in recent years, according to reporter Andrew S. Ross. Diamond Foods was poised to acquire Pringles from Proctor & Gamble. His improper business dealings are expected to lead to at least $50 million in losses due to the deal falling apart.

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