Exclusive: ADM replaces top trader amid global shakeup - memo

Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:25pm EDT
 
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By Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume

BUENOS AIRES/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Archer Daniels Midland Co has replaced the leader of its global trading desk, the company confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday, as it sheds traders around the world amid a global grains glut that has squeezed profits.

Gary McGuigan, most recently managing director of global trade at ADM will succeed Gary Towne as president of the global trade desk, ADM said. Reuters first learned of the appointment from an internal company memo that was leaked in Argentina.

The move is in keeping with a time frame set when Towne, who is retiring after 20 years with the company, took the job last year, ADM said.

"Gary Towne's retirement was planned, and Gary McGuigan's appointment reflects our ongoing succession planning," company spokesman Colin McBean said.

Towne spent 20 years with ADM and from 2007 to 2009 chaired the management board of Alfred C. Toepfer, a global grains trading company in which ADM held a majority stake.

ADM opened its global trading desk in Switzerland in 2015 to oversee the company's supply network.

Towne's year heading the operation featured a turbulent time for commodity merchants as grain prices stagnated under burdensome stocks and energy and freight prices swung wildly.

In a global shakeup in trading operations, the U.S. agribusiness group has let go key personnel in recent months and exited energy trading. It said in early April that it planned to close its South African trading desk and it shrank its operations in Argentina at a time of increasing food production.   Continued...

 
The corn mill of global grain company Archer Daniels Midland is pictured in Decatur, Illinois March 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Karl Plume