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New era for Agricom Chile as Hans Eben takes on CEO role

New era for Agricom Chile as Hans Eben takes on CEO role - Hans Eben CEO of Agricom Chile
Press release


SANTIAGO, Chile, September 21, 2020 – Westfalia Fruit International Ltd has announced that Hans Eben has taken on the role of CEO at its fully owned subsidiary Agricom Ltda. Eben is well known in Chile, having spent the past 18 years in leadership positions within Unilever.   

Hans will be succeeding Rodrigo Barros, the founder of Agricom, who has retired after four decades at the helm of this leading Chilean agribusiness. Born in Chile, Hans has worked his entire career at Unilever, heading up companies with manufacturing plants and operations under his scope. His most recent role was as Country Manager for Unilever in Chile. Prior to that, Hans served as Unilever Country Manager in Peru as well as Marketing Director for Unilever in Latin America. Early in his career Hans was based in the UK where he was Vice President of the Unilever Marketing Academy.

In his new role Hans will be managing all aspects of the Agricom business in Chile, providing strategic, financial, operational and stakeholder support to ensure the sustainability, profitability and further advancement of the business.

“I’m excited to be contributing towards the wellbeing of millions of people around the world with the sustainably grown, nutritious and colourful products of the Westfalia family,” states Hans, who is based at Agricom’s Santiago headquarters.

Alk Brand, CEO of Westfalia Fruit, comments on the appointment: “We are pleased that Hans agreed to join us at an exciting time for the Group and for our Chilean operation. Chile is a strategic region for Westfalia and we look forward to continuing to promote Chilean fruit and our growers through our global platforms. The skills that Hans brings are ideal for the execution of this vision.”

Hans believes in making a difference in society and the industries in which he operates, of which the following are examples: · Director Icare and President Innovation Committee (1200-company association) · President Global Pact United Nations, connecting Industry, Government, NGOs on SDGs · President Advisory Board B Corp Chile · Advisory Board Digital Talent Chile · Consultant to the Minister of Women on gender-based violence and Minister of Science for Technology based companies · Advisory Board for “We Need to talk about Chile”/”Tenemos que Hablar de Chile” · Speaker different forums about Sustainable Business eg COP25 Madrid · Past Director Food and Beverage Association · Past Director National Association of Advertising in Chile and Peru · Past Director National Association Consumer Goods Companies Peru.

About Westfalia Fruit

Established in 1949, the Westfalia Fruit Group supplies fresh produce and related value-added products to international markets. An integrated supply chain incorporating all activities ‘from pip to plate’ enables it to market quality fruit from across the globe throughout the year. For more information visit, @WestfaliaFruit and #avoexperts.  

Photo: Hans Eben CEO of Agricom Chile (Westfalia Fruit Group)

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Departure of Sainsbury’s CEO “not due” to Asda deal collapse

Departure of Sainsbury’s CEO “not due” to Asda deal collapse
Credit: Peter Nicholls, Reuters, The Times


Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, has announced his resignation but will remain in his post until the end of May. His replacement will be current retail and operations director, Simon Roberts. Coupe has denied that his resignation is linked with the collapse of the £12 billion merger with Asda, emphasising that it was his own decision to leave. 

Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda fell through last year when the CMA found that the deal could lead to higher prices for customers. Speaking to the BBC, Coupe said, “If you looked at our AGM last year, 99.5% of our shareholders voted for me to carry on what I’m doing. It’s absolutely my choice You see the amount of change that is going on in the world of retail, who knows what will happen in the next five to 10 years, but one way or another there will be a significant rationalisation of brands you have taken for granted for a generation.”

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Change at the top of VOG Consortium

VOG partners with Sustainapple, the South Tyrolean apple consortium´s sustainability strategy

There has been a changing of the guard in the management of VOG, the Consortium of South Tyrolean Fruit Growers’ Cooperatives, which brings together almost 5,000 members specialised in apple production. On 28 August 2019, at the “House of Apples” in Terlano, Gerhard Dichgans, who had been CEO of the VOG Consortium for 29 years, officially “passed the torch” to the new CEO, Walter Pardatscher.

The change formally took place on 1 August, at the start of the new sales season, and the handover was in fact decided last autumn, following a selection process by the Consortium’s top management. Dichgans will continue to oversee several projects for the Alto Adige Variety Innovation Consortium on behalf of VI.P Val Venosta and VOG in Terlano.

A determined, stubborn man with a deep knowledge of the sector and markets, Dichgans, who was born in 1952 and graduated in economics from the University of Fribourg, joined the large VOG family in 1985, first as an export manager then as Head of Sales, before his appointment as the Consortium’s CEO in 1990. During his time as CEO, he led major changes in the Consortium in terms of organisation, assortment modernization, turnover growth and development of new markets. For the members of the Consortium, he always represented an important point of reference, partly thanks to his ability to work as a team player and to keep the management focused on strategic objectives. He was responsible for the introduction of the Marlene® brand with its unmistakable “blue sticker”, which distinguishes the quality of South Tyrol – Südtirol apples for all consumers.

“Clearly, I am proud of the goals achieved over the years,” comments Dichgans, “and I am especially pleased to pass on to my successor – to whom I naturally extend my best wishes – a company that is healthy and forward-looking, both in terms of turnover and of ongoing variety innovation projects. There are many new challenges and there is certainly all to play for with regard to international competitiveness. I arrived at VOG when the world was still divided by the Cold War, while today we talk about the global market.”

The new CEO, Walter Pardatscher, aged 48, has been mainly known until now as chairman and CEO of Autostrada del Brennero S.p.A. However, his roots and part of his professional work are closely connected to the agricultural world and in particular to fruit growing. Growing up on his family’s farm, he attended the Agricultural Institute of Ora and subsequently graduated from the University of Trento and University of Innsbruck. In addition to being a freelancer, he joined several boards of directors in which he offered his knowledge and skills in engineering and business management. In the agricultural sector, from 1999 to 2005, Pardatscher served as chairman of the South Tyrolean Young Farmers Union. Since 1996 he has been a member of the board of directors of the Kurmark-Unifrut fruit cooperative, serving as chairman in the last three years. In this capacity he became a member of VOG’s Board of Directors. Walter Pardatscher is therefore an “insider” within the South Tyrolean fruit world, as well as an experienced CEO of large companies.