* Gelchie was made COO in 2019 to lead cost savings plan
* Main shareholder says he drove better H1 performance
* McIntosh to retire after 2 years as CEO, 34 years at group (Adds detail)
PARIS, July 10 (Reuters) - Agricultural commodity merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) said on Friday that its CEO Ian Mcintosh will retire in September and current Chief Operating Officer Michael Gelchie will succeed him.
Company veteran McIntosh had taken up the CEO role in 2018 in one of a series of management reshuffles under Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the majority shareholder of the 169-year-old family-owned firm.
Gelchie was promoted to an enlarged COO role last year to lead a cost savings programme as LDC responded to a slide in profits it blamed on international trade tensions and a swine fever epidemic in China.
“Under his operational leadership as COO, LDC has worked effectively through COVID-19 to continue to deliver safely for customers and consumers globally, and achieved a much-improved performance in the first half of the year,” Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who chairs the group’s board, said in a statement.
Gelchie worked for LDC between 1990 and 2010, including in trading and investment roles. He returned the group in 2019 as head of coffee before taking up the COO position near the end of last year.
He will serve as deputy CEO until taking on the CEO position from Oct. 1, LDC said.
McIntosh has worked for LDC for 34 years and took on the CEO role after the sudden departure of his predecessor Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena along with then CFO Armand Lumens.
Dreyfus is the “D” of the so-called “ABCD” quartet of global agricultural commodity traders that includes Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd and Cargill Inc.
Like its peers, it has been looking further down the food chain in response to declining profits in trading and shipping crops.
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus is also considering bringing in outside investors after she was required to make a costly buyout of family minority shareholders.
Reporting by Gus Trompiz, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman