Louis Dreyfus announced the departure of both its chief executive and its finance head, in the latest management shakeup at the agricultural commodity giant. The group said in a statement that Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena had resigned as CEO after three years in the post to pursue other opportunities, and would be replaced with immediate effect by Ian McIntosh, previously chief strategy officer. British national McIntosh has worked for the family-owned group since 1986, Louis Dreyfus said in a statement. A spokeswoman for Louis Dreyfus said the departures of Ramirez and Lumens were “unrelated and coincidental”. Louis Dreyfus also announced that Federico Cerisoli, previously deputy chief financial officer, will become group CFO after Armand Lumens decided to leave for personal reasons after less than two years in the post.
Dreyfus, the “D” of the so-called ‘ABCD’ quartet of agricultural commodity giants that also includes Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill, has seen a series of management changes in recent years under chairperson and majority shareholder Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. Those changes have also occured in the midst of a general downturn in agricultural markets. Several senior traders, led by its former global head of grains, left the group together a year ago and have since joined a trading firm set up by other members of the Louis Dreyfus family, Reuters reported. This year saw McIntosh arrive from former Louis Dreyfus investment fund Edesia as strategy chief, while human resources head Andrea Maserati was promoted to chief operating officer.
The industry’s traditional modelling of buying crops, storing them in silos and trading the inventory is under pressure from advances in technology, and companies such as LDC have been trying to move downstream into more complex processing activities. LDC has also drawn up plans to realign its geographical footprint towards Asia and has been exploring strategic alliances with key players in China so that it can get closer to its end customer, Financial Times reports. It has also sold its metals business and is looking for partners to invest in some of its non-core businesses, such orange juice and dairy.