Big Story 10

Commodity group Louis Dreyfus promotes coffee head to COO role in latest reshuffle

PARIS (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) [AKIRAU.UL] on Monday appointed its head of coffee Michael Gelchie as its new chief operating officer in the latest management reshuffle at the family-held agricultural commodity group.

Gelchie will take on the COO role with immediate effect, replacing Andrea Maserati, who is leaving the firm, LDC said in a statement.

LDC is one of the so-called “ABCD” quartet of global grain trading giants, alongside Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill [CARG.UL.].

Like its peers, LDC has reorganized its operations in recent years in response to falling margins in trading staple crops like cereals and oilseeds.

It has also been through an acrimonious exit of minority family shareholders in which Margarita Louis-Dreyfus took near total control of the group’s holding structure.

After reporting improved results in 2018, LDC posted weaker earnings for the first half of 2019 and warned international trade tensions and a swine fever epidemic would continue to weigh on its activities for the rest of the year.

Gelchie returned to LDC in July as coffee head, having previously worked for the group for 20 years from 1990. He will retain responsibility for coffee, according to LDC’s website.

Gelchie will report to Chief Executive Ian McIntosh, a company veteran who was appointed to the role just over a year ago.

LDC also appointed Nigel Mamalis, another longstanding executive at the group, as global head of risk and compliance.

At board level, LDC said it had named Michel Demare as deputy chairman.

Demare, who was in the past chairman of crop seed and chemical group Syngenta, has been on LDC’s board since April 2014.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus heads the six-person board.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Gus Trompiz; Editing by Alex Richardson and Louise Heavens