Louis Dreyfus searching for new CEO

by World Grain Staff
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ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Louis Dreyfus Commodities announced on April 25 that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ciro Echesortu has asked to “step back” from his current role, effective June 1. 

Echesortu started as CEO in June 2013. The Supervisory Board of Louis Dreyfus Commodities Holdings, now recomposed following the recent addition of three new members, is launching the search for a successor to the CEO.

“One year ago, we agreed with Ciro Echesortu to begin a transition under his leadership, aiming to adapt our strategy and accelerate the Group’s transformation, in order to reinforce our leading position in the industry,” said Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, chairperson of Louis Dreyfus Holding. “Thanks to our solid performance in 2013, the conditions are now right to implement a longer-term solution and the Supervisory Board has therefore initiated an active search process for the new CEO. Ciro has asked to step back from his current role and will focus on reinforcing and adapting the company’s strategy through the next stage of the transition period. Ciro has been instrumental in our success for many years, and I would like to thank him for this great achievement and for having supported the evolution of our management structure in the past year very effectively.”

Claude Ehlinger, chief financial officer of Louis Dreyfus Commodities and non-executive chairman of the board of Biosev, has been appointed interim chief executive officer of the Louis Dreyfus Commodities Group, effective June 1st, 2014. Ehlinger’s tenure as CEO will continue until a successor has been identified and appointed, at which point he will resume his existing responsibilities.

Echesortu will remain with the company in an advisory capacity as head of strategy, focusing on strategic commercial matters and supporting Claude Ehlinger on specific portfolio risk management as he transitions into his additional role.

“I know we can count on Claude’s extensive expertise, integrity and intimate knowledge of the group in the interim, as well as on the support and contributions of both Ciro and the board,” said Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Louis Dreyfus Commodities through an important transition in its management and governance functions over the past year. Claude is well placed to take over where I left off, ensuring the continuation of the process,” said Echesortu.

“Louis Dreyfus Commodities has a strong and unique business model which has enabled our company to grow so successfully. In the constantly changing business environment of the global market, we are reinforcing our organizational structure by combining it with new technical knowledge and on-going improvements in the way we do business. We are on our way to attaining the leaner, more agile organizational model that we aspire to, and there has been significant progress already. We will pursue the same course, which I am confident will ensure we remain competitive and able to meet future challenges effectively,” said Ehlinger.

Ehlinger joined the group in 2007 after serving three years as chief financial officer at Eutelsat. Prior to this he was chief financial officer of Cap Gemini’s Central and Southern European operations, chief financial officer of CCMX and group managing director of Finacor, a large brokerage company in Europe. He began his career in 1985 at Thomson Group. He is a graduate of the French business school HEC.

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