Rice grower and supplier SunRice has announced that Paul Serra will succeed Rob Gordon as CEO and managing director of the Australian company.

Gordon previously announced his intention to retire in August this year and SunRice has named his replacement as Serra, formerly of Campbell’s Soup Co. and most recently managing director at Olam Food Ingredients (OFI).

SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur commented on the appointment: “Paul is an accomplished executive whose leadership skills and global experience in the growth and transformation of complex and diverse organisations will provide the right mix to continue to build on the SunRice Group’s growth strategy. The board is confident that under Paul’s leadership, SunRice will be well positioned to build on our core strengths and continue to create value for both classes of shareholders.”

He added: “Paul’s appointment reflects his deep commercial and operational experience, leadership capabilities and track record at both OFI and Campbell Soups. Together with the board, I am delighted to announce his appointment today.”

Serra will join the rice producer in July to allow for a smooth transition of leadership.

Serra said: “It is a great honour and privilege to be appointed as the CEO and managing director of SunRice, a leading global food group and one of Australia’s leading branded food exporters at such an important time in the group’s evolution as it continues its expansion both in Australia and overseas.

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“I look forward to continuing to build on the underlying strength of the SunRice business and delivering a strategy to create long-term value for the group in partnership with SunRice’s growers, shareholders, customers, communities and its people.”

SunRice marked a total group EBITDA for FY2022 of A$91.3m ($61.06m). Its Australian rice business of Riverina Rice returned revenue of A$145.8m in H1 of 2023, compared to A$246.1m in the entire financial year of 2022. Riverina rice production also jumped 65% to circa 688,000 tonnes in H1.