Louis Dreyfus Company, one of the world’s biggest traders of food stuffs, is reorganising its top management team as it looks for new growth opportunities in a rapidly changing market.
The company, the “D” of the “ABCD” group of merchants that dominate the international flows of grains and soyabeans, is adding eight new members to its senior leadership team, including the head of orange juice businesses and the head of finance.
The announcement comes as the commodities group controlled by Russian-born billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has been reorganising its operations to address tough market conditions that have depressed margins and profits across the industry.
LDC sold its metals business at the end of last year, allowing it to free up capital for investment in its core agricultural businesses and has moved to tackle long-running problems at its Brazilian sugar subsidiary Biosev by agreeing to underwrite a $1.45bn recapitalisation.
The company is now turning its focus to China and its giant population, which is eating more protein. Earlier this month it announced the completion of its purchase in a soyabean processing facility in Tianjin, China. Soyabeans are crushed and used as feed for livestock.
As part of the changes, the Swiss-based company has grouped its grains and oilseeds platforms with its freight and finance units, while ringfencing its juice business in order to attract potential investors.
Gonzalo Ramírez, LDC chief executive, said: “Having adjusted our business portfolio and operating model for greater efficiency, we are now well positioned to explore new avenues for growth.”
“The newly appointed members of our senior leadership Team bring a range of seniority, experience, business acumen and specific market knowledge that will strengthen our decision-making process and facilitate the pursuit of our strategic goals and ambitions,” he added.
The new members of the senior leadership group include new strategy chief Ian McIntosh, who headed up the Louis Dreyfus group’s asset management arm Edesia, head of coffee Markus Reis.
In addition, LDC named Andrea Maserati as its chief operating officer. He was previously head of regions and functions.
“As Group COO, (Andrea Maserati) will continue to strengthen LDC’s business activities and operations across our geographies,” said Mr Ramírez.
LDC has also seen the departure of several executives amid the refocusing of its operations. Mr Ramirez on Monday emphasised the trader’s “collegial approach”. One senior grain trading executive David Ohayon took a team of grain traders with him, setting up Sierentz Global Merchants.
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