Louis Dreyfus Appoints Maserati After Departure of Van den Akker

Louis Dreyfus Commodities named Andrea Maserati interim senior head of regions after industry veteran Gert-Jan Van den Akker left the agricultural trader less than a year after joining.

Maserati, who will remain senior head of corporate functions at the Geneva-based trader, will also become interim head of the Europe and Black Sea region for Dreyfus, company spokeswoman Eleni Androulaki said by phone.

The departure of Van den Akker, a former senior executive at Cargill Inc., follows Dreyfus’s surprise New Year’s Eve cancellation of Mayo Schmidt’s appointment as chief executive officer. Van den Akker was also a candidate for the CEO job at the 164-year-old family controlled company.

Van den Akker left to “pursue other opportunities,” Androulaki said.

The executive shakeup, reported by Reuters earlier, comes as Louis Dreyfus and the three other dominant agricultural trading houses -- Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., and Cargill, known collectively as the ABCDs -- face increased competition from China’s Cofco Corp.

China’s largest food company poached Matthew Jansen from ADM last month to become CEO of Noble Agri Ltd., the venture Cofco formed after buying the agricultural arm of Hong Kong-based Noble Group Ltd.

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