Louis Dreyfus Co. is shaking up top trading jobs as one of the world’s largest agricultural commodities merchants seeks to turn around its struggling business, according to internal memos seen by Bloomberg. The firm, led by Russian billionaire heiress Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, has named new heads of soybeans, corn, wheat and meals as a part of a move to create a combined grains and oilseeds platform, it said in a memo. The company also brought in a new head of coffee and appointed a new leader to develop trading of other grains such as barley, sorghum and pulses.
Agribusiness firms are fighting to make money in their traditional trading operations as years of well-supplied markets and low prices constrain activity and compress margins. Ian McIntosh, who last year became Louis Dreyfus’ fifth chief executive officer in five years, has said the firm was seeking partners to buy equity and help it expand in emerging markets. Louis Dreyfus declined to comment.
Christopher Lush will be the new head of soybeans as Olivier Saur takes on meals, according to the memo. Andrew Ballentine becomes head of corn and Markus Reis takes on the role for wheat. Reis was previously head of the coffee platform and will be replaced by Mike Gelchie, who re-joins Dreyfus at the end of the month and will also be a member of the executive group, according to a separate memo.
Wladimir Blanckaert takes the lead to develop complementary grains activities such as barley, sorghum and pulses. Dreyfus will also merge its palm and oils business into a single unit led by Jacinto Peralta Ramos and James Kilpatrick. Oilseed-related product lines will report to Andre Roth and grain-related lines to Anthony Tancredi, according to the memo. BLOOMBERG