ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Louis Dreyfus Commodities announced on Nov. 28 that its supervisory board has appointed Mayo Schmidt as the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), effective Jan. 5.
Schmidt will succeed interim CEO Claude Ehlinger, who will continue in his existing roles of chief financial officer (CFO) of Louis Dreyfus Commodities and non-executive chairman of the board of Biosev. Ehlinger is also promoted to the function of deputy CEO of Louis Dreyfus Commodities.
Schmidt is former president and CEO of Viterra Inc., a Canadian-based global provider of food ingredients to leading food manufacturers worldwide. In addition to his successful 12-year career at Viterra, Schmidt has spent five years with major U.S. food company ConAgra Foods, initially as president of ConAgra Grain in Canada and, more recently, as executive vice-president of Domestic and International Operations. Prior to this, he held several senior managerial posts at General Mills from 1982 to 1995. A U.S. and Canadian citizen, he has a bachelor’s of business administration degree from Washburn University and has followed advanced study courses at UCLA, the University of Nebraska and Harvard University.
“I am delighted to welcome Mayo to the Louis Dreyfus Commodities Group. His broad and global experience in the food industry, combined with his leadership skills, entrepreneurial attitude, strong business ethics and team-oriented mindset make him the best person for the job”, said Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, chairperson of Louis Dreyfus Holding. “This is an important step in the transition project we launched in June 2013, to further reinforce our management structure and governance model. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to Claude for his great service as interim CEO over the past months, in addition to his existing CFO role, and for his outstanding commitment and performance.”
“This appointment was the result of a rigorous, professional and well-pondered global search process, led by the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee and approved by the entire supervisory board,”, said Serge Schoen, executive chairman of the Louis Dreyfus Commodities Holdings Group. “The board has invested significant time and resources in identifying and selecting the most suitable candidate - someone with a strong track record of success, but also an advocate for our corporate values, with the ability to act as a role model and create lasting social impact. We are therefore very pleased that Mayo has accepted to join us.”
“It is a great honor to be joining this 163-year old group, which has become a synonym for excellence in the global agribusiness industry, and I would like to thank the supervisory board and Margarita Louis-Dreyfus personally for the trust they show in selecting me as chief executive,” said Schmidt. “I have the greatest respect for the company’s exceptional know-how, talented employees and senior management team and count on their support as we collectively drive the company’s success moving forward.”