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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

After Long Hunt, Louis Dreyfus Appoints Asia Head as New CEO

After a long hunt, Louis Dreyfus Commodities has appointed its Asia head, Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena, as the new chief executive officer of its global grain trading group.

Ramirez Martiarena first joined Louis Dreyfus in 2005 after 15 years with Nidera where he was the director of the cereals division. In 2008 he became head of origination activities for south Latin America, and later became chief operations officer for the same region. In 2012 he was appointed head of the south and west Latin American regions, before becoming the head of Asia in 2015.

The appointment of Martiarena comes after the appointment of Mayo Schmidt, former head of Viterra, did not come to pass.

Louis Dreyfus has been searching for a chief executive since April 2014 when Ciro Echesortu, who had taken over for long-serving Serge Schoen, and who held the position for less than a year, left the position.

"Gonzalo (...) stood out as a strong internal candidate during an extensive and rigorous search process led by the Supervisory Board, that considered both external and internal candidates," Reuters reports Margarita Louis-Dreyfus said in a statement.

Controlling shareholder, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, has been leading a shake-up at the 164-year old firm as it maneuvers to find solid ground in a transitioning and consolidating commodities sector that has seen game-changing investments from such groups as China’s COFCO and Glencore.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has also overseen the firm’s first bond issue, and has broached the possibility of opening up capital to outside investors. She will assume the position of the firm’s non-executive chairperson of the supervisory board from Schoen, who will become her deputy effective October 1.

Claude Ehilinger, Louis Dreyfus’ finance director, who has been acting chief executive during the search, will remain as deputy CEO of Louis Dreyfus Commodities and non-executive chairman of the board of can milling group, Biosev until May 2016.

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