January 13, 2017 / 5:57 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-China's COFCO Agri changes continue with new COO, head of coffee

3 Min Read

(Adds background, details throughout; includes COFCO's new head of coffee in paragraph 8-10)

NEW YORK/LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - The shake-up at COFCO Agri, the international grains business of China's state run COFCO group, has continued with the appointment of chief operating officer and a new coffee chief, according to sources and an internal memo.

According to the memo seen by Reuters, Selina Yang has been named chief operating officer. This follows last week's announcement that Matt Jansen had resigned as chief executive officer 18 months after joining.

Industry sources said separately a new global head of coffee will start at the company in February.

Yang will be responsible for the global grains, oilseeds and cotton business, according to the memo. She been head of business integration with the parent group COFCO, three sources said. The previous chief of grains and oilseeds Kevin Brassington has left the company, the memo said, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

COFCO vice president Jingtao Chi, who is known as Johnny, was named chief executive of both COFCO Agri Ltd and COFCO International Ltd to succeed Jansen, the company said last week.

Officials at COFCO Agri did not respond to requests for comment, while the parent group could not be immediately reached for comment.

The shake-up comes amid changes at other global commodities traders following a difficult year, with bumper crops in major growing nations like the United States pressuring prices of corn and soybeans and intensifying competition among merchants.

The Asia trading chief at rival Archer Daniels Midland Co has left the company, sources said on Friday.

COFCO's memo also named the heads of business segments who will report to Yang including Crawford Tatum, its global head of cotton.

Separately, the company has named a new global head of coffee after the retirement of Ernesto Leon-Gambetta, according to three industry sources. Leon-Gambetta left COFCO Agri in October 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Joseph Reiner, who according to his LinkedIn profile is a chief procurement officer for candy company Mars Inc in Brazil, will start as coffee chief in February, sources said.

A spokesman for Mars did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

COFCO has been on a global expansion drive in recent years, investing over $3 billion to buy Noble Group's agribusiness as well as a large stake in Dutch grain trader Nidera.

Since first investing in Nidera in 2014, COFCO has had several setbacks. (Reporting by Jonathan Saul and Nigel Hunt in London, Dominique Patton in Beijing and Chris Prentice in New York; Editing by Keith Weir and Cynthia Osterman)

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