Viterra alters global operations

Canada’s largest grain company is reorganizing.

Viterra announced this week that it will make a series of organizational changes aimed at strengthening the company’s position in global markets.

The company’s new global operating model will be based on three business pillars — grain, agri-products and processing.

The reorganization will result in greater efficiency and better integration of Viterra’s worldwide operations, the company said in an Aug. 8 release.

“Viterra believes that a strong, functionally aligned organizational structure is a key foundation to business excellence,” the company said.

“As the company continues to grow, it will be implementing a new global operating model to strengthen and support its strategic vision ….”

Under the new structure, Fran Malecha will serve as chief operating officer of grain and will be responsible for all aspects of Viterra’s global grain and oilseed business including merchandising, terminal and port operations, logistics and global commodity trading.

Doug Wonnacott will serve as COO of agri-products and will oversee the growth, expansion and diversification of Viterra’s global agri-products portfolio, which includes research and development, seed, crop protection products, fertilizer, equipment and wool.

Karl Gerrand will lead the company’s processing operations, which include wheat and oat milling, malting, pasta making, oilseed crushing and feed manufacturing.

Rob Gordon, president of southeast Asian operations, will oversee the company’s operations in Australia and New Zealand and will focus on expanding business in those two countries.

“Over the past several months, we as a management team have been challenging ourselves to enhance our (operational model) based on our long-standing principles of efficiency, integration, expanding our interests and value creation for our shareholders,” said Viterra president and chief executive Mayo Schmidt.

“These changes support those principles and will allow Viterra to harvest the internal efficiencies enjoyed by a global organization that operates across various business lines.”

The company has also appointed Steve Berger as senior vice-president of corporate services.

Jim Bell will act as senior vice-president in charge of legal affairs and corporate social responsibility.

Colleen Vancha, senior vice-president in charge of investor relations and corporate affairs, will retire this year.

Rex McLennan, the company’s chief financial officer, will assume Vancha’s responsibilities.

Viterra, formed in 2007, combined the assets of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Agricore United.

The company bought ABB Grain, formerly the Australian Barley Board, in 2009 and now operates on four continents with more than 6,000 employees.

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