April 1, 2019 / 9:17 AM / 24 days ago

Former Louis Dreyfus boss was ousted after Glencore overture - FT

April 1 (Reuters) - The previous chief executive of crop merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) was ousted after trying to start talks with Glencore Agriculture and other rivals, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

LDC, one of the world's largest agricultural commodity traders, announced last September the surprise departure of Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena, along with that of its finance chief, the latest in a series of management reshuffles under controlling shareholder Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

The company said at the time that Ramirez, who took the CEO position three years earlier, had left to pursue other opportunities and that the move was unrelated to financial performance or strategic issues.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the FT said Ramirez's departure was the result of an attempt to start discussions with Glencore Agri, a joint venture between the Switzerland-based commodity trader and two Canadian pension funds.

The report said Ramirez also tried to sound out other companies about possible combinations.

LDC and Glencore were not immediately available for comment. Ramirez declined to comment.

Ramirez led a restructuring of LDC during a tough period in agricultural markets that saw U.S.-based peer Bunge become a takeover target.

Chairwoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus has left the door open to "strategic partnerships" to support future growth.

She has been involved in a long-running tussle over the terms of a buyout of minority family shareholders. That purchase was completed in January, raising her stake in LDC's holding firm to 96 percent.

Ramirez's successor, company veteran Ian McIntosh, last week pointed to regional partnerships as an option for LDC, playing down the idea of large-scale merger deals in the sector.

Reporting by Gaurika Juneja in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Dale Hudson

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