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Senior Lactalis figure takes over as Parmalat CEO

By Guy Montague-Jones , 13-Jul-2011

A senior figure at Lactalis has been drafted in to become CEO of Parmalat after the French dairy took control of the Italian group at the end of June.

The new figure at the top of Parmalat will be Yvon Guerin, who has been serving as general manager of Lactalis’s creamery and nutrition division.

The 46-year-old is a Lactalis veteran with over 20 years of experience at the French dairy company. He takes over from Enrico Bondi who was appointed as head of Parmalat after a huge fraudulent debt cover-up sent the company into bankruptcy in 2003.

Bondi built up a cash chest of €1.4bn, largely by suing investment banks linked to the fraud case, but was criticised by some shareholders for not reinvesting the money in the business.

Guerin may soon be tasked with using that cash productively now that Lactalis has gained an 83.3 per cent stake in Parmalat.

But first off, the French executive is likely to draw on his acquisition experience to merge Parmalat into the Lactalis operations. In 2010, Parmalat said Guerin was heavily involved in the integration of Spanish company Puleva into the Lactalis Group.

The appointment of Guerin takes immediate effect and his arrival in Parma to take up the new role is expected in the coming days.

Lactalis is currently ranked as the third biggest global dairy company, according to Rabobank, and boasts a turnover of €3.3bn. Parmalat, meanwhile, is ranked as the 12th biggest dairy company worldwide.

Lactalis will be expected to achieve some significant synergies in Europe, following the €3.38bn acquisition. “It is a good deal – there could be some cost synergies, especially in Italy and Europe,” Simone Ragazzi, an analyst at Centrobanco, said last month.

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