Bunge director, member of founding family, quits board

Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:39pm EDT

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* Jorge Born Jr. resigns for "personal reasons"

* Ancestors founded Bunge y Born in Argentina

* Bunge CEO is separately set to step down

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, March 15 (Reuters) - A descendant of the family that founded Bunge Ltd. in the 19th Century has quit the agribusiness company's board of directors, where he has served since the company went public in 2001.

Jorge Born Jr., 50, told Bunge's 11-member board on March 8 that he was quitting effective immediately for "personal reasons," the company said in a regulatory filing.

Born Jr., whose term was set to expire this year, could not be reached for comment. A Bunge spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

His resignation is significant considering his family's long history with the company, said Philippe de Laperouse, a former director of business development for Bunge North America.

Johann Peter Bunge founded Bunge & Co. in Amsterdam in 1818, and his grandson in Argentina later turned the commodities trader into Bunge y Born with ancestors of Born Jr, according to a company history.

Bunge y Born later became Bunge Ltd.

Born Jr. worked for Bunge's commodities trading, oilseed processing and food products operations in South America, the United States and Europe, and was head of European operations from 1992 to 1997, according to the company.

He was named deputy chairman of the board when the company went public in 2001.

"With his departure there will be no Borns in management or on the board," a Bunge spokeswoman said.

Born Jr. is chief executive of Bomagra S.A., a privately held company involved in farming, real estate and technology in Argentina, according to Bunge's website.

Several other of the directors who served when Bunge went public still hold their seats on the board. However, Alberto Weisser, who has been chairman and CEO since 1999, is set to retire June 1.

Soren Schroder, who joined the company in 2000 and is head of Bunge North America, will succeed Weisser as CEO.

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