USA – The global agricultural and food company, Bunge Ltd has appointed Board member Gregory A. Heckman as acting Chief Executive Officer effective immediately.
He succeeds Soren Schroder who in December unveiled intentions to step down from the company.
Heckman joined Bunge Board in 2018 after having served as CEO of The Gavilon Group and in senior executive roles at ConAgra Foods.
With over 30 years of experience in agriculture, energy and food processing industries, he will be charged to oversee organisational growth in both agribusiness and food ingredients categories.
According to a statement by the company, he led the formation of Gavilon, the successor to ConAgra Trade Group, and oversaw the spinoff of ConAgra Trade Group from ConAgra Foods after a 24-year career at ConAgra Foods.
He is also founding partner of Flatwater Partners, a private investment firm.
Heckman holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture economics and marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Greg has been a valuable addition to our Board and Strategic Review Committee and we are pleased to appoint him as our Acting CEO.
Our Committee has benefited from his counsel and expertise.
With Greg in this role, we have a greater opportunity to leverage his perspective, deep industry knowledge and leadership experience, as we take action to improve our results and sharpen our operational focus and execution,” said Kathleen Hyle, Bunge’s Non-Executive Board Chair.
Bunge said it is continuing with the process of searching a new CEO, who will be announced as soon as possible.
The company further indicated that three of its longest-serving Board members; Patrick Lupo, Ernest Bachrach and Enrique Boilini will not stand for re-election and will serve up to May 2019.
The company has updated its full-year 2018 outlook, expecting adjusted EBIT to be below the previously disclosed US$1.045 billion low end of the outlook range.
Bunge estimates an adjusted EBIT shortfall of approximately $90-$100 million in the Agribusiness segment and a shortfall of approximately $60-$70 million in the Sugar and Bioenergy segment for the full year.
According to Bunge, agribusiness was impacted by reduction in value of the Company’s Brazilian soybean ownership as factors related to China trade and demand.
Sugar and bioenergy shortfall was as a result of lower Brazilian ethanol prices, and a weather-related reduction in yields.