Mr Alireza was recruited four years ago by Noble. His first day as CEO of this large physical trader was his first day in the commodity business. The learning curve has been a painful experience for the company’s shareholders: the share price fell by 76%. Noble dramatically underperformed traders that can be short or long commodities. The trader even underperformed some producers that are structurally long.
Mr Alireza is not responsible for all the accounting issues at Noble. The dubious mark-to-market did not start with him. The level was already suspiciously high under the previous CEO, Ricardo Leiman. Mr Alireza also found Noble in poor shape after his predecessor made investments in sugar assets at the very wrong time. This would plague Noble’s performance for years.
But Mr Alireza could have walked away from a company increasingly dependent on accounting alchemy to hide bad results. Instead, he embraced the system…
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