Round up

Latest senior appointments across the food and drink industry

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

ABF Ingredients, AB Agri and BENEO have all announced senior hires. Credit: ABFI / AB Agri / BENEO
ABF Ingredients, AB Agri and BENEO have all announced senior hires. Credit: ABFI / AB Agri / BENEO

Related tags appointments

Food Manufacture rounds up recent senior appointments announced at ABF Ingredients, AB Agri and BENEO.

ABF Ingredients hires Jeremy Xu as CEO

ABF Ingredients (ABFI) has announced that Jeremy Xu will join the company as chief executive on 9 April 2024.

Operating as the specialty ingredients division of Associated British Foods, ABFI has chosen Xu to lead the next phase of its growth, driven by investments aimed at enhancing its capability in both R&D and commercial activities.

Xu is currently chief innovation officer and president of global healthful solutions at Ingredion, a global ingredients supplier that operates in more than 120 countries. Having joined Ingredion in 2020, Xu has also worked with Dupont and DSM across Asia, Europe and the US during a career spanning 30-years in the ingredients sector.

Fabienne Saadane-Oaks, who has been CEO of ABFI since 2015, will retire from the company in April 2024 after 35 years in specialty ingredients, including nine at ABFI.

In November 2023, Associated British Food’s ingredients segment posted full-year revenues of £2.2bn and an adjusted operating profit of £214m.

Commenting on his appointment, Xu said: “Each of ABFI’s businesses is synonymous with excellence in specialty ingredients. They all have distinct identities, but are united by their shared business philosophy and the strength of their deeply impressive leadership teams. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at the businesses and within the wider ABF Group.”

The departing Saadane-Oaks added: “I am extremely proud of what the ABFI teams have accomplished over the past nine years and look forward to an even greater growth journey under Jeremy ‘s leadership.”

Meanwhile, Associated British Foods CEO George Weston described Xu as a “first-rate global leader​”, before thanking Saadane-Oaks for “nine hugely successful years at ABFI​”.

Weston continued: ”She has very high standards and has been a great developer of talent and mentor for colleagues. We wish her well for the future​.”

AB Agri names new managing director UK&I dairy businesses

AB Agri has confirmed the appointment of David Williams as the new managing director of its dairy businesses within the UK and Ireland.

Williams officially took up the role on 20 February 2024, and brings plenty of executive experience within the dairy industry having previously worked for Arla and more recently serving as the CEO of Omsco Ltd.

AB Agri is well-established within the UK dairy and ruminant industry and has supported farmers for more than 30 years. Over the last two years it has accelerated the development of these businesses, bringing together expertise in on-farm consultancy, data, industry knowledge, technology and nutrition.

Commenting on his arrival, Williams said: “I will continue to help drive and support the incredible hard work and successes our teams and businesses are demonstrating every day, as well as overseeing ongoing investments and developments, all geared towards providing responsible solutions for a sustainable and profitable future for farmers​.”

AB Agri CEO José Nobre added that the firm was delighted to have appointed Williams, who boasts a “wealth of experience in the dairy industry​”.

Nobre continued: “We are committed to help build the world’s most responsible and productive farm ecosystems, that are resilient for the future. Our recent investments mean we have a unique proposition to support farmers and the supply chain to produce more responsible, affordable nutrition.”

Dr Mike Eberle appointed to BENEO executive board

Functional ingredients manufacturer BENEO has announced that Dr Mike Eberle joined its executive board of directors on 1 March 2024.

Eberle, who holds a PhD in chemistry from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, is now responsible for overseeing operations at BENEO, leaning on nearly three decades of experience in the food and drink sector.

Areas of the business under Eberle’s purview include including production, technology, supply chain management, quality, raw material, health, safety, environmental protection and sustainability.

He started his career with positions at Unilever in both Germany and The Netherlands, and following this, held leadership roles in production, supply chain, logistics and operations at leading food and drink manufacturers. Most recently, Dr Eberle was positioned as the chief operations officer at German sparkling wine producer Rotkäppchen.

Commenting on his new role, Eberle said: “I am very happy to join the BENEO team. The company is a leading player for plant-based functional ingredients worldwide. My ambition is to grow BENEO’s operational excellence further and make sure we use our planet’s resources in a sustainable way.

“Both the experienced team and the production sites around the globe are well set to do so. Passion is a key driver to being successful and I am more than confident that we will succeed as a team​.”

In other news, UK poultry supplier Avara Foods has reported a pre-tax loss of £12.3m for the financial year ending 31 May 2023.

Related topics People & Skills Supply Chain Dairy

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast