LONDON/PARIS, May 5 (Reuters) - COFCO International has nominated Serge Schoen, a former chief executive of Louis Dreyfus, to become an independent director on its board, the Chinese-owned trading group said, as it continues a leadership shake-up after a brace of overseas acquisitions.
Schoen’s appointment is pending approval by COFCO International’s shareholders. As part of his board position he would head a risk management committee, a spokesman told Reuters by email on Friday.
COFCO International, controlled by China’s COFCO group , is in the midst of reorganising itself after completing the takeover of Dutch-based trader Nidera earlier this year.
The full acquisition of Nidera came after COFCO invested $3 billion in buying Noble Group’s agribusiness and taking a majority stake in Nidera, deals that propelled the group into the league of major global grain trading firms.
COFCO last month formally merged the international trading activities into a single firm under the COFCO International name and is in the process of moving several senior managers, led by new chief executive Johnny Chi, from China to the company’s international headquarters in Geneva.
As CEO of Louis Dreyfus Co between 2005 and 2013, Schoen oversaw rapid growth at the trading house during a boom period for agricultural commodity markets, during which Dreyfus notched up a record annual net profit of $1 billion.
He later served as chairman and then vice chairman on the Louis Dreyfus board while majority shareholder Margarita Louis-Dreyfus oversaw a series of management changes.
After leaving Louis Dreyfus last year, Schoen launched a private investment firm called EightStone.
COFCO’s acquisitions have made it into a potential challenger to the so-called ABCD quartet of global agricultural trading groups comprising Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge , Cargill and Dreyfus.
Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Jonathan Saul; Editing by G Crosse and Leslie Adler