UPDATE 1-D.E Master Blenders CEO to step down

Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:29pm EST

AMSTERDAM Dec 10 (Reuters) - Michael Herkemij is to quit as chief executive of D.E Master Blenders 1753, the Dutch company behind the Douwe Egberts coffee brand hit by tax and fraud issues earlier this year.

He will be replaced temporarily at the end of the year by Jan Bennink, non-executive chairman of the board, the company said.

Herkemij led D.E Master Blenders through its listing on the Amsterdam Stock exchange in July after it was spun off by U.S. group Sara Lee, now known as Hillshire Brands.

The company warned investors within weeks of its stock market debut that 2012 results would be hit by fraud, tax and inventory issues at its Brazilian operations.

The firm restated its profits from 2009 to 2012, wiping a cumulative 43 million euros off 2012 operating profit.

Herkemij agreed to leave by mutual consent, a company statement said, but the company gave no details about the reason for his resignation.

D.E Master Blenders, whose brands also include Senseo coffee pods and machines as well as Pickwick tea, is the third-largest player in the global coffee market after U.S.-based Kraft Foods Inc and Swiss market leader Nestle SA.

D.E Master Blenders shares closed 0.85 percent lower at 8.75 euros Monday and are down 10 percent since listing.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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