Blog: Dean BestEmerging market ambitions prompted Barry Callebaut to look to PepsiCo, Chiquita execs

Dean Best | 9 April 2013

Alongside Barry Callebaut's half-year results came news the B2B chocolate giant wants a current PepsiCo executive and the former boss of Chiquita Brands International as company directors.

The Swiss group has put forward Timothy Minges, chairman of PepsiCo's business in Greater China, and Fernando Aguiree, the ex-chairman and CEO of Chiquita, for seats on its board.

Barry Callebaut's board will hold an extraordinary general meeting later this month for shareholders to vote on plans for the company to issue shares to part-fund the acquisition of Petra Foods' cocoa ingredients business - and the nominations of Minges and Aguirre will also be voted on.

A desire to boost its presence in Asia was behind Barry Callebaut's move to buy the Petra assets and, speaking to just-food yesterday, the company indicated its wish to expand in emerging markets was a key reason for asking Minges and Aguirre to join the board.

"Both of them are specifically strong in emerging markets - one in South America and one in Asia. That was a strong priority we gave to the search," Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann said.

CFO Victor Balli added Minges had spent the bulk of his career in China and Asia. Balli also put forward another factor in Aguirre's nomination. "He has a lot of know-how in sustainability and Fairtrade as you can imagine."

The Petra deal, which set to be finalised this summer, has faced questions in recent weeks after the Singapore group booked a fall in annual profits. However, Barry Callebaut's management has defended the planned acquisition and insisted the Petra assets - with their presence in emerging markets - are an "excellent strategic fit".


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