GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Covantis, the industry initiative that aims to modernize global trade operations, announced on March 31 that it has received all required regulatory approvals and has incorporated as a legal entity in Geneva, Switzerland as Covantis SA. The company is co-owned by its founding members: ADM, Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, Louis Dreyfus Company and Glencore Agriculture.
Covantis also announced its governance structure and executive appointments.
"After a thorough search process, we are very pleased to appoint Ms. Petya Sechanova as the company’s CEO," said Stefano Rettore, an independent adviser to the organization. "Petya brings a wealth of industry knowledge to Covantis and has been fundamental in shaping the initiative since its inception in 2018."
Sechanova has more than 20 years of experience in multinational companies, including 11 years with Cargill, during which she has held a series of leadership positions, including, most recently, trade operations leader. Stefano Rettore will continue in his role as an independent adviser to the board until June, after which his successor will be announced.
"We're excited to create Covantis as a company,” Sechanova said. “This paves the way toward launching the first release of our industry-changing digital solution, focusing initially on grains and oilseeds post-trade execution processes. In conversations with stakeholders around the world and up and down the value chain, we've heard time and again how critical it is for our entire industry to modernize our outdated global grain trading operations. Now that we've received regulatory approvals and incorporated Covantis as a legal entity, we focus on the preparation of the 2020 launch of the new platform."
A board of directors consisting of one member from each of the six co-founders will oversee the company and help to guide its evolution. The board will be chaired by one of the directors and will rotate annually. The director appointed by Louis Dreyfus Company will act as chairperson for the first 12 months.
"We're particularly pleased to announce that we are locating the company in Switzerland," Sechanova added. "Switzerland is a thriving technology innovation hub, with access to tremendous talent and expertise in blockchain solutions. Geneva's central location makes it ideal to continue our work with stakeholders across our value chain, as we build our new digital platform for the industry, by the industry."
Earlier this year, the initiative announced the selection of ConsenSys, a market-leading Ethereum blockchain technology company, as the lead technology partner to develop its transformative set of digital solutions. ConsenSys will leverage its enterprise-ready blockchain products and services, including, Codify, PegaSys Orchestrate, Kaleido, and MythX to build the blockchain network on Ethereum.
Since announcing the initiative in October 2018, the group has held workshops and roundtable discussions with a broad range of industry stakeholders, including shippers, charterers, buyers, service providers, financial institutions, trade associations, industry standards and regulatory authorities.
By collaborating on critical issues such as security and data privacy, technology choices, business model, adoption strategy, and functionalities and capabilities, the group said it is ensuring that the new platform will meet the needs of the entire industry.