Olam Foods International announced the appointment of Niall FitzGerald as Chairman as they prepare to launch their IPO in London. FitzGerald’s previous role was as the Chairman of Unilever, a company with a market valuation of £103bn ($142bn) and £50.8bn in annual revenue.
Olam’s choice of FitzGerald is a good move for OFI, and he’s not a surprising choice. Besides his tenure as Chair of Unilever, he was also an Executive there for almost four decades, serving in positions such as Finance Director, Foods Director, and Detergents Director.
Later, he was named chairman and CEO in 1996 and served in that capacity until 2004. In addition to his position at Reuters, he held other notable positions in the financial world, but what really caught my eye during my research was that he also headed the Investment Climate Facility Africa.
A public-private initiative, the Investment Climate Facility (ICF) enables industrial and commercial entities, NGOs, and national and regional governments to collaborate to improve the investment climate at all levels in Africa.
It is an honour to be invited by the Olam Board to become the first Chair of the Board of OFI. I am delighted to join this exciting business which is right on trend through its natural ingredients portfolio which has a huge growth potential across the world. The track record in showing how commercial success, a passionate commitment to sustainability and positive social impact can integrate effectively, has a particular appeal.
The opportunity to bring this business to the public markets and recruit a diverse and skilled board will also be a new challenge. I look forward to supporting Shekhar and his talented executive team as they pursue sustained profitable growth with measurable social and environmental impact. – Niall FitzGerald
In this industry, companies would find it difficult to identify a Chairman who has such broad expertise across so many aspects, as well as experience in climate change as an NGO.
From a business perspective, Olam appears to be handling its international IPO well, and it will be interesting to see how the new board defines and executes its strategy.