European Cocoa Association confirms new president and executive committee

The European Cocoa Association (ECA) has confirmed Paul Davis, Head of Cocoa at Sucden, as its new president for the next two years, as it continues to engage with key issues impacting on the sector, writes Neill Barston.

Its latest major appointment comes as the organisation, which represents a diverse range of businesses operating within the cocoa and chocolate field, plans for its next major conference, taking place between 13-15 September in Rome.

Furthermore, the trade body has named Patrick Poirrier, Vice President of Cocoa at Cémoi, as the ECA’s Vice- President, and Christian Vollers, Managing Director at Vollers Group, has been reappointed as treasurer for the organisation. The trio will now for association’s new executive committee.

In his new role, Davis (below), thanked Harold Poelma, former ECA President, for his major achievements and leadership during his Presidency, including his valuable involvement in sustainability and traceability issues.

As the trade association noted, under the outgoing president’s tenure, the association has significantly developed its regulatory activities on sustainability, as well as on trade, food safety, environment, and logistics matters. Consequently, it has been recognised within the region as a  committed player in the debates related to the development of the cocoa sector. This is evidenced by the increase in visibility and membership which has been raised by 35% since 2019.

In addition, the General Assembly also recently appointed two new Directors: Mr. Guus de Gruiter, Deputy CEO at ECOM Cocoa, and Mr. Hubert Hoondert, Founder/Managing Director at Cocoasource.

For the next two years, the ECA Board of Directors is therefore composed of: Harold Poelma (President Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate), Steven Retzlaff (President of Global Cocoa, Barry Callebaut), Patrick de Boussac (CEO, Touton), Gerard A. Manley (CEO, OFI Cocoa), Christophe Vandierendonck (Managing Director Commodities, Katoen Natie), Enrico Pacorini (CEO, Pacorini Group), Guus de Gruiter (Deputy CEO,

ECOM Cocoa), Hubert Hoondert (Founder/Managing Director, Cocoasource) and the three members of the Executive Committee.

Commenting on his new role, Paul Davis said: “I am extremely proud and humbled to have been elected to the President of the European Cocoa Association and will seek to continue and build on the extraordinary work of the ECA team and so many previous Board Members, particularly Harold Poelma, who chaired the Association Board through a particularly challenging time during the pandemic. The ECA does exceptional work in supporting the interests of its members and the sector in general. Europe is the most important customer to the cocoa sector and the Association seeks to build confidence in an ever developing, competitive, efficient trade and industry in the European family. We will continue to work on seeking and achieving balance, fairness and responsibility within our sector for the benefit of all working in cocoa from ‘farm to fork’.”

Paul Davis commenced in cocoa in 1987, qualifying as a floor trader for Pacol Ltd., part of the Gill and Duffus Group that merged into ED&F Man in 1988. He served as Managing Director of ED&F Man Cocoa Ltd from 1997 until 2006, before joining Tropix Capital, part of Ospraie Wingspan in 2006 in both Connecticut and London until 2012 when he joined the Noble Group as Director and Global Head of Cocoa.

He then joined Sucres & Denrées in 2016 to take over as Head of Cocoa in its Paris Headquarters, where he currently works. Notably, he rejoined the ECA Board as a trade member in 2018 serving as vice chairman from 2019. Furthermore, he served on the Council of the Federation of Cocoa Commerce from 1999 to 2009, as Chairman from 2006, elected for a second term in 2018.

In addition, Davis also served as a Director of the European Cocoa Association from 2000 to 2006 and as Chairman of the Cocoa Advisory Group for LIFFE from 1999 to 2006. Mr. Davis currently serves as a member of the Cocoa Advisory Group to ICE and on the board of the World Cocoa Foundation which he joined in 2019.

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