BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – The International Grains Council (IGC) appointed Arnaud Petit as its next executive director during its 46thcouncil session in Brussels, Belgium, on Dec. 5.

Petit, currently director of commodities and trade at Copa-Cogeca, will take over the role on Feb. 1, 2018. He replaces Etsuo Kitahara, who started as IGC executive director on Feb. 1, 2006.

Copa-Cogeca, based in Brussels, is a combination of E.U. farmers and agricultural cooperative organizations. It represents more than 28 million farmers and 38,000 cooperatives, and is organized into three departments: commodities and trade, general affairs and administration.

The commodities and trade department, under the direction of Petit, covers 25 product areas and is involved in trade negotiations, CAP reform, economic analysis and commodity markets.

According to the IGC job listing, the executive director is the chief administrative officer and head of the Secretariat of the IGC. Candidates needed to have knowledge of the world grain economy and international agricultural and food policy issues; capabilities in market and economic analysis; administrative and managerial experience; experience working with government officials; and communication skills.

During his nearly 12 years with the IGC, Kitahara oversaw great change in the global grains sector and the IGC. He expanded the range of commodities it covers, adding rice in 2009 and oilseeds in 2013. The number of member countries also expanded to include Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Kitahara’s previous experience included Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF); deputy director-general, Rural Development Bureau MAFF; senior deputy director-general, Land and Water Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; and vice-president of Japan International Cooperation Agency.