EUROPE – Latvian dairy company Food Union has appointed Arturs Čirjevskis as chief executive officer (CEO) in charge of its business in Europe. 

Čirjevskis, currently CFO of the Food Union Group in Europe, succeeds Normunds Stanevics who resigned from his position. 

The new CEO has been with the company since 2015 when Food Union acquired its third asset in Latvia, Rīgas Piensaimnieks Ltd, the owner of Latvian legacy megabrands Kārums, Dzintars, and Mājas. 

Čirjevskis has more than ten years of experience in general management and operational finance. 

Meanwhile, Food Union’s commercial strategy and business development across Denmark, Norway and Romania will be guided and supported by Aivar Aus, CEO of Estonian ice cream producer, Premia TKH. 

Food Union currently sells its dairy products in Europe, Belarus, Russia, China and Pacific Asia.  

The group, founded in Latvia by Ukraine-born Russian entrepreneur Andrey Beskhmelnitskiy,  is backed by Hong Kong-based investment company Meridian Capital Limited. 

According to the company website, Food Union has more than 3,000 employees and annual revenues of more than 280 million euros. 

Lactalis CEO Philippe Palazzi bows out 

Earlier, Lactalis CEO Philippe Palazzi left the dairy giant over what the company indicated was a disagreement over strategy. 

Palazzi took over as chairman and CEO in June 2020 after a lengthy career at German retailer Metro AG, where he eventually ascended to the chief operating officer. 

While little is known behind Palazzi’s sudden departure, the short statement from Lactalis shows that the seasoned executive and the group could not agree on how to move the business forward.

 It does not appear that financial missteps were responsible for the departure as Lactalis had said in a statement that Palazzi’s investment and his energy “made it possible to achieve the financial objectives for the year 2021.” 

More than likely he and billionaire Emmanuel Besnier couldn’t agree on how to grow the company’s business.  

Food Dive reports that Palazzi may have disagreed with the frequency of acquisitions by Lactalis and instead favored a less aggressive approach for the time being 

The shakeup at Lactalis is the latest C-suite shakeup to impact a large dairy CPG headquartered in France. Last year, Danone named a new CEO to lead the maker of Oikos yogurt and Evian bottled water. 

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