Tuesday 30 May 2023

Gerard Manley, CEO of ofi’s cocoa business and Groups CSO, announces retirement

Company and industry veteran retires after a stellar career spanning over 25 years with the company and 40 years in the industry

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LONDON, UK – ofi, a global leader in naturally good food and beverage ingredients, has announced that the CEO of its cocoa business, and the group’s Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), Gerard Manley, will retire at the end of June 2023. Tejinder Singh Saraon, (Teji), Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the cocoa business, will take over from Gerry as the MD & CEO of cocoa. A new group CSO for will be appointed by ofi in the coming months.

Gerry’s departure will come after 25 years of a distinguished career with ofi and its parent company Olam International, and 40 years in the cocoa industry. He was a member of the Olam Group Executive Committee (ExCo) and is currently a member for the ofi Corporate Leadership Team (CLT).

Under his leadership, the cocoa business grew from being a small exporter of cocoa beans from West Africa and Asia to becoming a leading supplier of cocoa beans and value-added cocoa ingredients to the chocolate, confectionery and wider food and beverage sector globally, with a particular focus on traceability and sustainability.

Gerry was instrumental in the successful acquisition and integration of the US$1.3 billion business of ADM Cocoa – a transformational move to become a fully integrated cocoa business with industry-leading origination, processing, innovation and R&D capabilities.

Gerry also played a key role in developing and leading the company’s sustainability efforts and footprint across the cocoa supply chain, and was closely involved with the development of the Olam Livelihood Charter to support smallholder farmers, the design and evolution of ofi’s sustainability management platform AtSource, and the launch of the Cocoa Compass Strategy and Impact reports – all of which have received recognition for helping to drive positive impact and change across the supply chain. Post the reorganization of Olam, he was appointed as the CSO of ofi, leading the group’s sustainability efforts globally, across all its product platforms.

Gerry is well recognized as an industry leader and expert, earning him appointments to many industry associations. He is currently a Board member for the European Cocoa Association and the World Cocoa Foundation. He is also on the Ice Europe Consultative Committee and a Cocoa Arbitrator for the Federation of Cocoa Commerce.

Teji will transition into his new role from May 8, 2023. He joined Olam in 1997 and for over 10 years headed the cocoa operations in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire. He subsequently moved to Singapore and cemented his relationships with the Asian cocoa industry and developed many of the customer relationships which are so valuable today.

In 2009, he moved to London to manage the company’s global cocoa beans and products business. He was then instrumental in leading the integration process following the acquisition of ADM Cocoa. Today Teji is based in Geneva and is a member of the ofi CLT. He has previously served on the Board of Cocoa Association of Asia and the FCC contracts committee.

Commenting, ofi CEO A Shekhar said: “As a senior leader, Gerry’s passion for our people, for the smallholder farmers, and our business will be very much missed. His achievements have been significant, and this includes building a deep leadership pipeline which enables us to make a smooth transition at the helm of the business. Through Teji’s considerable experience, he is well prepared and a natural fit for the role. We look forward to strengthening our partnerships with customers and other stakeholders through his leadership.”

Gerry Manley said: “In my 26th year at ofi, and after more than 40 years in the cocoa industry, I believe now is the right time to hand over the reins. I am incredibly proud of our track record in the cocoa business and of the sustainability efforts in the sector. I would like to acknowledge all those that we have partnered with over the decades to increase our combined impact. I will always cherish this remarkable experience and the many friends I have made over the years. Most importantly I will always carry the ofi Purpose with pride to “Be the Change for Good Food and a Healthy Future.”

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