SAO PAULO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Commodities trader Cargill Inc on Wednesday said Paulo Sousa would lead the company's operations in Brazil, taking over as president on Dec. 16 as Luiz Pretti prepares to step down.
Sousa will also retain his position as head of Cargill's South American agricultural commodities division, which he has led since 2016, the company said.
Pretti has served as president of Cargill in Brazil for the past eight years, according to a company statement. He has worked at the company for a total of 15 years.
Reuters reported in May that Pretti was preparing to step down, but neither Cargill nor Pretti had confirmed the decision publicly.
The largest privately-held U.S. company, Cargill in July reported a 41% drop in quarterly profit, citing disruptions from the U.S.-China trade war and flooding in the American Midwest that hurt its grains and livestock business.
In the origination and processing unit, Cargill's operations in South America posted higher profits over the prior year, with improvement seen in the corn and soybean business in Brazil, the Minneapolis-based company said in its earnings report.
Sousa joined Cargill in 1990 and has worked for various businesses. He established Cargill's Brazilian logistics management group and led the grain origination and risk management areas, the company's statement said.
Cargill last year shipped 10.9 million tonnes of soybeans out of Brazil, according to maritime agency Cargonave, making it the country's No.2 exporter of the oilseed behind rival Bunge and ahead of Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Cargill said Pretti will continue to serve in roles outside the company in Brazil, including chairman of the Amcham Brazil board, and as a member of the board of Alvean Sugar SL, a trading joint venture between Cargill and Copersucar SA. (Reporting by Ana Mano Additional reporting by PJ Huffstutter in Chicago; Editing by Bill Berkrot)