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Commodity trader Trafigura has restructured its leadership team as it prepares for the retirement of its longtime chief operating officer Mike Wainwright in March.
The changes represent the largest reshuffle at the top of the business since its founder Claude Dauphin died in 2015.
It follows a period in which the company has reaped record earnings, particularly from its energy trading business, but suffered setbacks elsewhere, including an alleged $590mn nickel fraud by a counterparty in February.
Wainwright, who joined Trafigura in 1996 and had served as chief operating officer since 2008, signalled his intention to retire in March.
Chief executive Jeremy Weir, Wainwright and executive director Jose Larocca, have run the trading house since 2015 as part of an 11-person management committee.
As part of the changes announced on Tuesday that team has been replaced with a slimmer, eight-person executive committee, the company said.
The new committee includes Weir, Larocca, chief financial officer Christophe Salmon, newly appointed chief operating officer Emma Stroud, the heads of Trafigura’s three principal trading divisions, and Ignacio Moyano in the new role of chief risk officer.
Stroud, who joined Trafigura’s graduate scheme in 2009, is the first woman to serve on its senior executive team.
Ben Luckock, who previously co-ran the oil trading business with Larocca and Hadi Hallouche, has been named head of oil. Similarly, Gonzalo De Olazaval, who previously co-ran the metals division with Kostas Bintas, has been named head of metals, minerals and bulk commodities.
Richard Holtum, head of gas and power, has added renewables to his portfolio.
Trafigura said the changes were designed to “strengthen leadership and focus across its global activities during a period of exceptional success and growth”.
The company in June reported record net profits of $5.5bn in the first of its financial year — more than double the same period 12 months ago. The bumper energy gains more than covered the charges from the alleged nickel fraud.
The results highlighted how the largest commodity trading houses, the powerful companies that move raw materials around the world, have continued to benefit from the disruptions triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Hallouche, the former co-head of oil, who has in the past been described as a potential successor to Weir, will no longer sit on the senior team, but will continue his role as chief executive of Trafigura’s downstream oil business, Puma Energy.
Bintas, the former co-head of metals and minerals, Jesus Fernández, the head of mergers & acquisitions and Julien Rolland, head of strategic investments, are also off the senior team, the company said.
Trafigura is owned by about 1,200 of its employees, meaning many of its senior executives have made huge personal sums on the back of recent profits. Equity attributable to the company’s owners rose to $17.5bn at the end of March from $14.9bn at the end of September 2022.
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