Bunge Ltd. has announced that Alberto Weisser will retire as CEO effective June 1, 2013. The board of directors has appointed Soren Schroder, currently chief executive officer of Bunge North America, St. Louis, to succeed Weisser as CEO of the company, and expects Schroder to become a director before June 1. The board also appointed Weisser as executive chairman, serving until December 31.
“Alberto has guided Bunge through one of the most significant and successful eras in its nearly 200-year history,” stated L. Patrick Lupo, deputy chairman and lead independent director, Bunge Limited. “Under his leadership, Bunge became a public company and grew from a regional operation to a global player, active in over 40 countries and with leading positions in key products and markets. Most importantly, however, Alberto helped instill the culture and approach that form the foundation of the company, and developed the talented team that is responsible for its success. We thank Alberto for his tremendous contributions to Bunge. We are fortunate to have a successor in Soren who can step into this role and ensure the business continues its strong momentum.”
Weisser joined Bunge in 1993 as chief financial officer. He was appointed CEO in January 1999 and chairman in July 1999. Bunge listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in August 2001. Since its listing, the company’s enterprise value has increased over 5.5 times, its stock price has increased by nearly 500% and total shareholder returns have averaged 16.4% per year.
“Soren is a proven leader, and has been instrumental to Bunge’s growth and success since he joined the company in 2000,” stated Weisser. “He helped build our global agribusiness marketing and trading operation, developed our agribusiness franchise in Europe and the Middle East, and as CEO of Bunge North America since 2010, has managed our complete value chain, including agribusiness, edible oils and milling, in a key region.
“In addition to an excellent track record as a commercial and operational manager, Soren possesses unparalleled industry expertise, market insight and understanding of our customers’ needs. He lives and breathes this business, having spent his entire professional life in the agribusiness and food sector. His appointment is the culmination of a thoughtful and deliberate succession planning process.”
As CEO of Bunge North America, Schroder leads Bunge’s business operations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Since joining Bunge, he has served in a variety of agribusiness leadership roles at the company, including as protein director, Bunge Global Markets, based in White Plains, NY; managing director, Europe for Bunge Global Markets; and vice president, agribusiness for Bunge Europe. Prior to joining Bunge, he worked for over 15 years at Continental Grain and Cargill, in positions in Europe and North America.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to build on the exceptional foundation Alberto has established and to lead Bunge’s talented team,” stated Schroder. “What we do has never been more important to the world, and there are tremendous opportunities to grow the business, create value for shareholders and deliver for our customers. I look forward to a smooth and productive transition with Alberto as executive chairman.”