Mexico-based food giant Grupo Bimbo has appointed chief operating officer Rafael Pamias as its new CEO.

Pamias will start in the new role from 1 May, succeeding Daniel Servitje, who has been Bimbo’s CEO since 1997. Servitje will take up the newly-created position of executive chair.

According to a statement from Bimbo, the CEO will directly report to the executive chair “and will be responsible for the running of the company”.

In his new role of executive chair, Servitje “will focus on strategic decision making, ensuring the alignment of the true long-term view, as well as the interests of the shareholders and board of directors”, Bimbo added.

The company said it wanted to “improve its corporate governance and strategic supervision while strengthening its structure to better face the complexity of the growth and expansion achieved over the past years”.

Pamias, who currently holds the COO and CSO positions at Bimbo, has more than 35 years of experience as a business executive.

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He joined Bimbo in 2017 from Danone, where he had been a regional general manager roles across the company’s dairy and bottled-water businesses.

“I will focus on the growth strategy, competitiveness, and long-term view of Grupo Bimbo while promoting the culture and focusing on talent development of generations to come,” Pamias said.

“We will continue to double down on quality, innovation and research and development. You can be sure that I am deeply committed and that I will work to continue with the success and sustainable growth that Grupo Bimbo has achieved for nearly 80 years.”

Servitje said: “Having just turned 65 years old and after 43 years of working full-time, I want to take a step forward and have decided to pass the CEO baton and become executive chair. On top of being the chairman of the board, I will continue being highly involved in all aspects of the strategy and execution of the company.”

On Pamias, he added: “His personal and professional trajectory has given him the experience of leading large organisations.

“He has managed to achieve good financial results in his teams, while also becoming a sustainable company that leaves a mark, as we aspire in our purpose. He has been the architect of our new sustainability strategy.”

Grupo Bimbo, which operates in 35 countries, has 227 bakeries and more than 151,000 employees.

In 2023, the company generated annual net sales of 399.8bn pesos ($23.2bn), up 0.3% on a year earlier.

Bimbo’s operating income increased 34% to 35.4bn pesos. The group’s net majority income rose 67% to 15.4bn pesos.

When the group reported its 2023 results in February, the Tia Rosa brand owner said it was poised for a “transitional phase” in 2024 as the bakery business geared up for further improvements in revenues and EBITDA.

The Mexico-headquartered company’s management team also said it expected to see “tailwinds” from easing commodity prices.