* Fran Malecha to join Compass Minerals Jan. 17
* Glencore promoted Malecha last month
* Replacement named internally
By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan 7 The head of Glencore
International Plc's recently acquired North American
agriculture business is leaving his post just a month into the
job, creating a potential complication in integrating the unit.
Fran Malecha was Viterra Inc's chief operating officer until
Glencore completed its acquisition of the Canadian company on
Dec. 17 and appointed him director of agricultural products for
Compass Minerals, a salt and specialty fertilizer
producer based in the Kansas City, Kansas metro area, named
Malecha its chief executive on Monday.
Malecha, 48, will take up his new post on Jan. 17 but will
continue to work at Viterra in the meantime.
His abrupt change of plans gives Malecha a chance to lead a
company in the city where he once lived, a Viterra spokeswoman
Movement in senior management is not uncommon or alarming
after takeovers, but the timing is not helpful for Glencore,
said Jason Zandberg, an analyst at PI Financial Corp who
previously covered Viterra.
"You've got essentially a company that doesn't have
operational experience in North America to any real degree and
you want to keep as much of the local grown talent as you can."
Kyle Jeworski, formerly vice president of grain
merchandising and transportation for Viterra, will take
Glencore's North American agriculture unit will keep the
name of Viterra. It is one of the two biggest Western Canadian
grain handlers, with capacity roughly equal to that of
Richardson International Ltd.
Malecha leaves as Glencore integrates Viterra, a C$6.1
billion ($6.2 billion) acquisition, into the Swiss commodity
trader's global operations.
Glencore is also selling some grain-handling, port and
processing assets to Richardson and is seeking regulatory
approval to transfer most of Viterra's farm supply stores to
Agrium Inc and a minority interest in the Canadian
Fertilizer Ltd nitrogen plant to CF Industries Holdings Inc
Malecha, who grew up on a farm in Minnesota, lived in
Calgary, Alberta, during his time at Viterra. His promotion by
Glencore would have required him to live in Regina,
Saskatchewan, where the company's North American agriculture
business is based.
Compass Minerals shares were up slightly in New York, while
Glencore stock eased in London.