SINGAPORE – Olam Food Ingredients (ofi), a major supplier of cocoa and coffee products, has appointed Tejinder Singh Saraon, (Teji), its Chief Operating Officer (COO), to take over as the MD & CEO of cocoa, succeeding Gerard Manley, who retires at the end of June 2023.
Manley, a current member of the European Cocoa Association Board and the World Cocoa Foundation, will depart from the company after 26 years of a distinguished career with ofi and Olam International, and 40 years in the cocoa industry.
He is also on the Ice Europe Consultative Committee, a Cocoa Arbitrator for the Federation of Cocoa Commerce, and a member of the ofi Corporate Leadership Team (CLT).
Manley played a key role in developing and leading the company’s sustainability efforts and footprint across the cocoa supply chain.
He was closely involved with the development of the Olam Livelihood Charter to support smallholder farmers, the design and evolution of ofi’s sustainability management platform AtSource, and the launch of the Cocoa Compass Strategy and Impact reports.
Also under his leadership, the cocoa business grew from being a small exporter of cocoa beans from West Africa and Asia to becoming a leading supplier of cocoa beans and value-added cocoa ingredients to the chocolate, confectionery, and wider food and beverage sector globally, with a particular focus on traceability and sustainability.
Post the reorganization of Olam, he was appointed as the CSO of ofi, leading the group’s sustainability efforts globally, across all its product platforms.
The company noted that Manley was instrumental in the successful acquisition and integration of the US$1.3 billion business of ADM Cocoa – a transformational move to become a fully integrated cocoa business with industry-leading origination, processing, innovation, and R&D capabilities.
In his departure speech, Manley said: “In my 26th year at ofi, and after more than 40 years in the cocoa industry, I believe now is the right time to hand over the reins…. I would like to acknowledge all those who we have partnered with over the decades to increase our combined impact.”
“I will always cherish this remarkable experience and the many friends I have made over the years. Most importantly, I will always carry the ofi Purpose with pride to “Be the Change for Good Food and a Healthy Future.”
Meanwhile, Teji, his successor, joined Olam in 1997 and for over 10 years headed the cocoa operations in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.
He is familiar with the Asian cocoa industry after being posted in Singapore for a while before being moved to London to manage the company’s global cocoa beans and products business. He was then instrumental in leading the integration process following the acquisition of ADM Cocoa.
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