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Bunge CEO steps down, company names new board chair

Grain trader Bunge Ltd.'s CEO has stepped down, the company said.

Aleksey | iStock

Grain trader Bunge Ltd.’s CEO has stepped down, the company said.

Soren Schroder, who has been Bunge’s CEO since 2013, will remain in his role until a successor is named.

Bunge also announced that Kathleen Hyle, who has served on Bunge’s board of directors since 2012, will become chair of the board, effective immediately. L. Patrick Lupo, who has served on Bunge’s board since 2006 and in the role of chairman since 2014, will remain a board member. Hyle will serve on the CEO search committee, along with board members Paul Fribourg, J. Erik Fyrwald and Mark Zenuk.

“It has been an honor to serve as Bunge’s CEO,” Schroder said in a press release. “We are making solid progress, and it is the right time to turn over the leadership reins. The company has a strong legacy and an exciting future ahead.”

Schroder, 57, joined Bunge in 2000 and has held a variety of agribusiness leadership roles, including CEO of Bunge North America. His tenure has included a significant strengthening of Bunge’s core activities in agribusiness and growth in food and ingredients, notably with the recent acquisition of Loders Croklaan. Schroder has focused on creating a simpler, more efficient organization, establishing a series of global partnerships, building a first-class team and increasing Bunge’s focus on customers.

Hyle, 60, has served as the head of the audit committee for the Bunge board of directors for the past five years. She has also served as senior vice president of Constellation Energy and chief operating officer of Constellation Energy Resources from 2008 until her retirement in 2012, when Constellation completed its merger with Exelon Corp. Hyle joined the company in 2003, and served in a variety of senior-level finance and operations positions, including as chief financial officer of Constellation New Energy Inc.

Schroder’s exit reopens possibility of takeover

The exit of Bunge’s CEO could reopen talks with Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Glencore PLC, both of which had proposed a takeover of the company. Schroder had resisted those approaches.

Bunge, which is incorporated in Bermuda and has headquarters in White Plains, New York, has no bylaws that would allow it to fend off an unsolicited approach, making it vulnerable to a potential takeover. In June 2017, the company hired advisers to help it fight Glencore’s takeover interest. 

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