Commodity trader Louis Dreyfus changes finance chief in latest reshuffle

PARIS (Reuters) - Agricultural commodity giant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) named a new head of finance on Wednesday, the latest management change in the midst of a cost-cutting drive at the 168-year-old privately held firm.

LDC said in a statement that Patrick Treuer would become chief financial officer (CFO) with immediate effect, in addition to his previous role of chief strategy officer.

Treuer replaces Federico Cerisoli, who served as CFO for just over a year and is to remain with the company to work on a cost savings programme launched in November, LDC said.

Treuer will report to chief operating officer Michael Gelchie, who was promoted to the role last month after returning to the group earlier this year as head of coffee.

LDC said the reshuffle did not affect the role of Chief Executive Ian McIntosh, a company veteran who took up his position last year after the surprise departure of both former CEO Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena and then-CFO Armand Lumens.

“As LDC looks to both manage costs and drive growth, the Finance function sits naturally today under an enlarged COO position,” an LDC spokeswoman said in an emailed response.

“The CEO role remains one of responsibility for the company’s short and long term strategy ... as well as representing the company to a wide range of key stakeholders.”

The departure of Cerisoli from the CFO position was a mutual decision to focus on the cost efficiency programme, she added.

LDC confirmed last month an internal memo announcing cost cuts, including on travel and hiring.

The group, known as Dreyfus, is the "D" of the ‘ABCD’ quartet of global traders that includes Archer Daniels Midland Co ADM.N, Bunge Ltd BG.N and Cargill Inc [CARG.UL].

Like its peers, it has faced pressure from global trade tensions and an African swine fever epidemic in Asia, hampering its attempts to emerge from a period of falling margins for grain merchants.

LDC, which is controlled by Russian-born Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, said in October that trade tensions and the spread of swine fever in China would continue to weigh on profit in the rest of 2019 after a fall in first-half earnings.

Patrick Treuer is the son of Georges Treuer, a French-Swiss businessman whom Margarita Louis-Dreyfus had named in 2011 as one of the trustees of the Akira family foundation that holds her majority shareholding in LDC.

Georges Treuer does not currently have any role at either Akira, LDC or any related companies, the spokeswoman said.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who assumed control of LDC in 2009 when her husband Robert died and has since been forced to buy out most other family shareholders, has raised the possibility of opening the group’s capital to outside investors, including by selling a stake to a regional market player.

Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Sudip Kar-Gupta, editing by Louise Heavens, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and William Maclean