Barry Callebaut CEO Patrick De Maeseneire is to leave the company after seven years at the top of the Swiss chocolate maker.

De Maeseneire will leave Barry Callebaut on 1 June to take up a new appointment as CEO of human resources firm Adecco.

Juergen Steinemann, currently chief operating officer of Nutreco Agriculture, has been appointed by the Barry Callebaut board as the company’s new CEO from 1 August.

Andreas Jacobs, chairman of the board, will act as CEO in the interim period.

De Maeseneire said: “During seven intensive years I had the privilege to work with a passionate team for a remarkable company. Together we have been able to develop Barry Callebaut into a global company, nearly doubling its sales as well as the number of factories.

“I have come to the conclusion that a CEO change would now be good for Barry Callebaut and for me. Therefore, I informed the board of directors early on of my decision not to renew my contract, which would have expired at the end of 2009.”

Steinemann has a “wealth of experience” in implementing focused business strategies in B2B companies supplying the food and the feed industries, which resulted in “impressive” sales and profit growth on a global scale, the company said.

“Barry Callebaut wishes to thank Patrick De Maeseneire for his outstanding contribution to shaping Barry Callebaut into the uncontested global leader in high-quality cocoa and chocolate products,” Jacobs said.

“Since joining Barry Callebaut in June 2002, he has worked relentlessly and successfully on implementing our strategy based on geographic expansion, innovation and cost leadership.”