Louis Dreyfus Chairwoman, Pregnant With Twins, Plans Leave

  • Margarita Louis-Dreyfus plans to take brief break after births
  • Chairwoman controls holding company that owns commodity trader

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the billionaire chairwoman of Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV, is pregnant with twin girls and due to give birth in early April, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

Louis-Dreyfus, 53, plans to continue her duties as non-executive chairwoman of the supervisory board until the birth, before taking a brief break and returning to work full-time in late April, the Rotterdam-based company said.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus

Photographer: Migel Medina/AFP via Getty Images

Louis-Dreyfus, who owns 81 percent of the holding company that controls Louis Dreyfus Commodities, was appointed chairwoman on Oct. 1, succeeding Serge Schoen. The 164-year-old commodity trader company also appointed Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena as chief executive officer and Sandrine Teran as chief financial officer.

The recent CEO and CFO appointments will “ensure that the company conducts business as usual during Mrs. Louis-Dreyfus’s short, well-deserved absence from her duties,” the firm said.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Louis Dreyfus Commodities trades raw materials from cotton to grains to orange juice. The company is one of the four leading commodity traders collectively known as the ABCDs, a reference to the initials of the companies Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc. and Dreyfus.

Mothers of 50 and over are a rarity in the European Union and Switzerland, accounting for less than one in every 5,000 births in 2013, according to Eurostat. The average age of childbirth in Europe has increased by a year over the past decade to about 30 years and 4 months.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus is the widow of Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in July 2009 after a battle with leukemia, and with whom she had three boys. Since inheriting the family foundation, called Akira, Louis-Dreyfus has increased the stake in the commodity trader and replaced board members and executives to consolidate her control.

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