Series of changes announced for Buhler board

by Josh Sosland
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UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — Calvin Grieder, the chief executive officer of Buhler Group, has been elevated to the additional position of chairman of the company’s board of directors. Mr. Grieder has succeeded Urs Buhler, who also stepped down as a member of the board.

The changes of board leadership, together with other changes in the board’s roster, were announced Feb. 11 after the company’s annual meeting a day earlier. The privately-held company, 100% owned by the Buhler family, also reviewed financial results for 2013 and offered an upbeat outlook for 2014 and beyond.

Mr. Buhler, together with Hans J. Loliger, left the board having reached a mandatory retirement age. Mr. Grieder, who has been c.e.o. since 2001, will serve as chairman on an interim basis.

“Plans for the medium term are to again appoint separate persons as chairman of the board and chief executive officer,” the company said. Peter Quadri, already a board member, was named vice-chairman of the Buhler board.

Mr. Buhler, the great grandson of founder Adolf Buhler, spent 40 years with the company and was c.e.o. from 1986 through 2000. Mr. Grieder described his predecessor as c.e.o. as a forward looking leader.

“In an unconstrained combination of relying on proven approaches and being receptive to new developments, he led Buhler into a global dimension,” Mr. Grieder said.

In addition to the retirements of Mr. Buhler and Mr. Loliger and the elevation of Mr. Grieder, the company announced the addition of three new members to the company’s board. Karin Buhler, a daughter of Mr. Buhler, has been named to the board. Also new to the board are Linda Yang, general manager of Bongrain S.A., a maker of cheese and specialty dairy products, and Frank N.J. Braeken, chief investment officer at Amatheon Agri Holding, a European-based company focused on farming and agribusiness projects in Africa.

The additions were said by Buhler to “ensure targeted internationalization of the organization.” Ms. Yang has held position with a number of major consumer packaged foods companies, including Nestle and Procter & Gamble in China. She possesses “in-depth understanding of this market,” Buhler said. Mr. Braeken, a citizen of Belgium, worked for Unilever for 26 years, holding various finance and management roles including serving as executive vice-president for the Africa market.
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