UPDATE 2-Louis Dreyfus picks ex-Viterra head as new CEO

Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:26am EST
 
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* Mayo Schmidt to become CEO of commodity trader on Jan. 5

* Outside recruitment reflects shake-up at family firm

* Schmidt's M&A record at Viterra seen as key strength (Adds market reaction)

By Gus Trompiz

PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Commodities named Mayo Schmidt, former head of Canadian grain handler Viterra, as its new chief executive in the latest stage of a corporate shake-up at the 163-year-old global trading firm.

Louis Dreyfus, one of a quartet of "ABCD" companies that dominate agricultural commodity trading alongside Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill , is trying to sustain growth as the big four vie with newcomers such as Glencore to acquire assets.

Schmidt's appointment on Friday was in line with the trading house's preference for an external candidate and comes after it raised the possibility of a share listing or a tie-up with a partner in the future.

Traders and analysts said his track record of acquisitions at Viterra fitted with the company's plans to expand more aggressively, although his appointment was a surprise as his name had not been cited in the market.

Schmidt, 57, oversaw the expansion of Viterra into Canada's biggest grain handler during a 12-year reign before stepping down in 2012 when the Canadian firm was acquired by Glencore for C$6.1 billion ($5.4 billion.)   Continued...