Herbalife CFO: Don't read anything into audit board chair leaving

Herbalife CFO John DeSimone said in an interview with CNBC that investors should not read anything into the departure of Leroy Barnes as the firm's audit board chair.

"Leroy is ingrained in this company," DeSimone said on CNBC's "Halftime Report." "He's been a board member for 10 years."

John DeSimone, Herbalife CFO
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
John DeSimone, Herbalife CFO

Shares of Herbalife sold off more than 20 percent at one point, a day after reporting worse-than-expected earnings results for the third quarter on Monday afternoon. The nutritional-supplement company posted earnings per share of $1.45, while Wall Street consensus was $1.51. Revenue was also light at $1.26 billion versus estimates for $1.32 billion.

On Friday, Herbalife announced that it had agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging illegal marketing practices.

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"People settle lawsuits for all sorts of reasons. Companies do it all the time," DeSimone said. "We are very confident we would've prevailed. But for cost purposes and distraction purposes, we chose to settle. But the changes that are specified in the settlement are changes that have already been made over the last two years, and our commitment is to continue with those changes, to keep them in place."

Herbalife reported a 44 percent decline in new recruits in China.

"Not at all concerned about what's going on in China," DeSimone said, adding that it was "an engineered decrease."

DeSimone also said that the company's has already taken into account the future costs of its restructuring efforts.

"I'm suggesting that our guidance is already inclusive of what we believe the impact of the short-term transition is, and that there's a lot of upside once we get beyond this transition," he said.

Addressing the issue of stock buybacks, which Herbalife has halted, DeSimone said that the move wasn't indicative of trouble.

"It doesn't suggest anything other than we have been a buyback company since 2007. We bought $3.1 billion worth of stock back, 70 million shares since 2007," he said. "We bought $1.6 billion since the beginning of 2012. We bought stock back through the second quarter, and right now we don't project buybacks, but we don't eliminate the fact that we might buy back."

Herbalife stock has been the subject of a $1 billion short bet by Pershing Square's Bill Ackman, who has publicly called the company a "pyramid scheme."

In late 2012, Ackman also famously battled with activist investor Carl Icahn, who at 17,000 shares is the largest holder of Herbalife stock. They have since reconciled.

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CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.