Steinemann to lead Barry Callebaut AG

by Keith Nunes
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Juergen B. Steinemann has been named chief executive officer of Barry Callebaut AG effective Aug. 1. He will replace Patrick De Maeseneire, who is leaving the company to become the c.e.o. of Adecco S.A., a human resources services provider. Mr. De Maeseneire’s last day with the company will be June 1. Andreas Jacobs, chairman of the board, will act as c.e.o. between June and August.

"Barry Callebaut wishes to thank Patrick De Maeseneire for his outstanding contribution to shaping Barry Callebaut into the uncontested global leader in high-quality cocoa and chocolate products," Mr. Jacobs said. "Since joining Barry Callebaut in June 2002, he has worked relentlessly and successfully on implementing our strategy based on geographic expansion, innovation and cost leadership."

In addition to its new leadership announcement, the company also released its financial earnings statement for the first half of fiscal 2008-09. During the period the company had a profit of 143.4 million Swiss francs($126.6 million), equal to 27.85 Swiss francs($24.58) per share on the common stock, during the first half of fiscal 2008-09, ended Feb. 28. The net profit was up 14% from the same period during fiscal 2007-08.

Sales for the first half of the fiscal year were 2,543.1 million Swiss francs, down 1.5% from 2,585 million Swiss francs.

"Barry Callebaut’s results are satisfactory in the context of a declining global chocolate market," Mr. De Maeseneire said. "We succeeded in maintaining our sales volumes and considerably increased our profitability by taking appropriate strategic actions and efficiency measures in good time."

He added that the market environment will remain challenging in the second semester and currency volatility will continue.

"Softening cocoa butter prices will have an adverse effect on margins, which we intend to partly offset through continued efficiency gains and cost cutting," Mr. De Maeseneire said.

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