The chief executive of German sugar refiner Nordzucker has resigned from his post as a result of “differences of opinion” over the company’s future strategy.

CEO and chairman of the executive board, Hans-Gerd Birlenberg, announced his resignation yesterday (28 January). He will be replaced by Hartwig Fuchs on Monday (1 February), the company announced.

“The reason for Hans-Gerd Birlenberg's departure is differences of opinion concerning the future strategic focus and management of the company. It is against this background that Hans-Gerd Birlenberg requested to be relieved of his duties. The supervisory board acceded to this request at its meeting yesterday,” the company said.

Until recently, successor Fuchs was chairman of the managing board of Alfred C. Toepfer International.

Harald Isermeyer, chairman of the supervisory board of Nordzucker said Birlenberg was the “driving-force” behind the acquisition of Nordic Sugar, but that Nordzucker now needs to focus its attention on the future.

“In a market environment which is characterised by dynamic development and which is increasingly challenging, especially in terms of profitability, the crucial factors are unity and solidarity in all key corporate decision-making," Isermeyer said.

"In view of this situation, the most sensible solution for both parties is to go our different ways. On behalf of the supervisory board I would like to thank Hans-Gerd Birlenberg for his services to the company and wish him all the very best for the future."