Bunge names Syngenta CEO to board under deal with activist investors

Bunge
(Dave Bedard photo)

Chicago | Reuters — Bunge Ltd. appointed the CEO of agrichemicals company Syngenta to its board on Wednesday as part of an agreement with activist investors D.E. Shaw and Continental Grain Co.

The global grains trader named J. Erik Fyrwald as a director, as it navigates low crop prices and the trade war that has slashed U.S. crop exports to China.

D.E. Shaw and Continental Grain had pushed Bunge to add board members in hopes of jolting the company into improved performance.

Bunge said in October it would add four directors and create a strategic review committee to explore options for the company, including a sale. Bunge named three of the directors at that time.

Fyrwald, 59, is a fourth mutually agreed-upon director, according to Bunge.

The board expansion comes after Bunge fielded unsuccessful takeover bids by rival Archer Daniels Midland and commodities trader Glencore.

ChemChina bought Syngenta for US$43 billion last year in China’s biggest foreign takeover to date. Fyrwald has been Syngenta’s CEO since 2016 and previously worked for DuPont.

— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago.

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