olam food ingredients (ofi) announced that the CEO of its cocoa business and the group’s Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) Gerard Manley, will be retiring at the end of June 2023.
Tejinder Singh Saraon (Teji), Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the cocoa business will take over from Gerry as the MD and CEO of cocoa. A new group CSO will be appointed by the company in the coming months.
Gerry’s departure comes after 25 years of a distinguished career with ofi and its parent company Olam International, and 40 years in the cocoa industry. He served as a member of the Olam Group Executive Committee (ExCo) and is currently a member for the ofi Corporate Leadership Team (CLT).
Under his leadership, the cocoa business grew from being a small exporter of cocoa beans from West Africa and Asia to becoming a large supplier of cocoa beans and value-added cocoa ingredients to the chocolate, confectionery and wider food and beverage sector globally. He was instrumental in the acquisition and integration of the US$1.3 billion business of ADM Cocoa.
Gerry also played a key role in developing and leading the company’s sustainability efforts and footprint across the cocoa supply chain and was closely involved with the development of the Olam Livelihood Charter to support smallholder farmers, the design and evolution of ofi’s sustainability management platform AtSource and the launch of the Cocoa Compass Strategy and Impact reports.
Gerry is well recognised as an industry leader and expert, earning him appointments to multiple industry associations. This includes the European Cocoa Association, where he is a Board Member and the World Cocoa Foundation. He is also on the Ice Europe Consultative Committee and a Cocoa Arbitrator for the Federation of Cocoa Commerce.
“As a senior leader, Gerry’s passion for our people, for the smallholder farmers, and our business will be very much missed. His achievements have been significant, and this includes building a deep leadership pipeline which enables us to make a smooth transition at the helm of the business,” commented A Shekhar, CEO, ofi. “Through Teji’s considerable experience, he is well prepared and a natural fit for the role. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships with customers and other stakeholders through his leadership.”
“In my 26th year at ofi, and after more than 40 years in the cocoa industry, I believe now is the right time to hand over the reins. I am incredibly proud of our track record in the cocoa business and of the sustainability efforts in the sector,” said Gerry Manley. “I would like to acknowledge all those that we have partnered with over the decades to increase our combined impact. I will always cherish this remarkable experience and the many friends I have made over the years. Most importantly I will always carry the ofi Purpose with pride to ‘Be the Change for Good Food and a Healthy Future’.”
Teji will transition into his new role from 8 May 2023. He joined Olam in 1997 and for over 10 years headed the cocoa operations in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire. He moved to Singapore where he cemented his relationships with the Asian coca industry and developed many customer relationships which remain valuable to the company today.
In 2009, he moved to London to manage the company’s global cocoa beans and products business. He was then instrumental in leading the integration process following the acquisition of ADM Cocoa. Today, Teji is based in Geneva and is a member of the ofi CLT.
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