SWITZERLAND- COFCO, the Chinese-owned agricultural firm has promoted Selina Yang as its new chief operating officer (COO), at the same time named 5 new heads for grains and oilseeds.

In the newly created role, Yang will report to the CIL’s CEO, Johnny Chi with the mandate to promote coordination between the group’s global product lines and key regions as well as freight.

Before the appointment, she worked as global head of grains and oilseeds and now will join the male dominated top management of international agricultural traders.

Her contribution at COFCO was evident in her over 30 years of grain imports experience after joining the company in 1986.

Through her career, she received various global recognition in leadership including an appointment to a leading role in CIL’s global grains and oilseeds business in 2017 and before that was in charge of business integration.

As part of a new business restructuring, COFCO International Ltd (CIL) has embarked on new appointments in a move to combine assets acquired overseas.

CIL in a statement said it had appointed former Bunge executive Paul Bateson as global head of grains, and Marcelo Martins, previously its managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as global head of oilseeds, all reporting to Johnny Chi.

The firm also announced creation of Global Asset Management Organisation under the leadership of Valmor Schaffer, formerly head of South America with a mandate to oversee the group’s physical operating assets.

“We now begin 2018 with a solid organisational structure that reflects our priorities as a business and brings the right set of skills and experience to lead our development and growth for years to come,” Chi said in the statement.

According to the company, the changes would reinforce its product and supply chain focus as it tries to expand internationally.

CIL is aiming to expand its international presence, a market dominated by multinational trading groups such as Cargill, Bunge, ADM and Louis Dreyfus which are struggling with high supplies and low prices.

CIL is stepping up the competition through various integrations including Rotterdam-based grain trader Nidera and the agribusiness of Singapore-listed Noble Group.

A CIL spokesperson also said that Fernando Barreiro, formerly head of wheat and barley, had been named managing director for Europe, Black Sea and the Caribbean (EBSC).

Bateson, previously the managing director, global grains, at Bunge after more than a decade at the U.S.-based trading group, will be in charge of wheat, barley and corn at CIL.

These major changes are geared towards creating a vertically-integrated global agricultural supply chain, supported by COFCO’s unique position in China.

To further build on this, ADM and COFCO Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the export of U.S. soybeans into China.