Global grain trader Bunge Ltd announced that the head of its largest unit, agribusiness, is retiring, days after the company reported a surprise quarterly loss. Brian Thomsen, 51, made “a personal decision” to step down at the end of the year, according to a company statement. Bunge said it would search for a replacement. Thomsen has led the company’s agribusiness unit, which includes its main operations of buying, trading and transporting grain, since May 2014.
Bunge has struggled to improve weak earnings linked to an oversupply of food commodities and to capitalize on trade disputes that have increased volatility in grain markets. Last week, the company reported a loss in the April-to-June quarter after being caught wrong-footed in the soybean futures market with bets that the U.S.-China trade fight would be resolved. The result was in stark contrast to trading rivals Archer Daniels Midland Co and Cargill Inc, which reported strong profits in their most recent quarters. ADM and commodity trader Glencore PLC have approached Bunge with takeover offers, although talks have not resulted in a deal. Last year, Bunge sweetened Thomsen’s compensation package, along with that of other executives, in case of a takeover.