Cocoa Association of Asia welcomes Barry Callebaut’s Elie Fouché as new chairman

The Cocoa Association of Asia (CAA) has confirmed Elie Fouché, Vice-President for Cocoa, Asia Pacific at Barry Callebaut, as its new chairman, who offered an incoming message of optimism for the region’s sector, reports Neill Barston.

As the organisation noted the appointment was confirmed at its 19th AGM meeting held on 20 April, with its latest officers taking up their posts for a period of two years.

Fouché takes over from Cargill’s Alvin Lee who offered an upbeat assessment of the market on his departure from his post, and he will be joined by Michelle Cui Qian, senior trader at Ecom AgroIndustrial Corporation as vice chair.

Other senior roles include Saurabh Suri, Senior Vice President at Olam Food Ingredients (ofi) as Secretary and Sunil Shankar, Cocoa & Chocolates Procurement Lead, Asia Middle East & Africa at Mondelez International as the Association Treasurer.

As the CAA noted, Michelle is currently a member on the Sustainability Sub-Committee and Sunil currently also sits on the Sub-Committee as the Director for Trade Policy, both have been serving on the Sub-Committees since 2021. CAA had previously updated its’ 2004 constitution to make the Association leadership at the Executive Committee level more representative, relevant and inclusive of our membership breakdown – to try and ensure that all future iterations of the CAA Executive Committee will have equal parts representation from the Processing, Trade house and FMCG sectors thru a rotation process.

Elie Fouché was appointed to the position of Vice-President for Cocoa in Asia Pacific in September 2021 and has been with Barry Callebaut for more than 15 years during which he took on multiple leadership roles across geographies and functions (including Cocoa, Chocolate and Corporate). Elie has lived in Asia for more than 10 years. Prior to his role today, Elie was the Chief Financial Officer for Barry Callebaut in Asia Pacific.

In his current role, Elie oversees the entire Asia Pacific cocoa business unit and provides leadership and strategic direction to his teams, and as the CAA noted, he is especially passionate about the sustainability agenda for the region, with particular reference to cocoa farming and sourcing in Indonesia.

Speaking on his new post, he said: “I’m privileged to take on the role of chairman for the CAA. A big thanks to Alvin Lee and the previous ExCo for their invaluable contributions. Today the cocoa sector is navigating through the challenges of new regulations and traceability, amidst a declining cocoa crop in Asia. With the collective expertise of the Association and its members, we can galvanise all the players of the Cocoa value chain to overcome these challenges. I look forward to our new chapter.”

Alvin Lee, who has been the association’s Chairman since 2021 enthused that it had been an eventful period steering the group forward (see our April edition of the magazine for an exclusive interview with him). He said:  “It has been my utmost privilege and honour to serve as the chair for the CAA over the last 2 years. My exco and I are proud to have built upon the solid foundations laid by our predecessors and know that the new incoming exco led by Elie will bring the CAA to even greater heights. With the challenges thrown our way over the last two years, much of what we’ve proudly achieved seems almost unimaginable – A burgeoning membership, professional consultative sub- committees helmed by member experts that have educated and advanced our industry’s position, the hosting of a record setting conference hot on the heels of a global pandemic that cemented the CAA’s leading status. There are many more achievements to list which is testament to the CAA’s growth and establishment as a critical stakeholder in the global cocoa & chocolate scene.

“We have many partners to thank for this wonderful journey – our vibrant member base who have provided time, resources and expertise whenever called upon, partner institutions like Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Management University and Chartered Institute of Logistics, and Transport Singapore, who have shown the CAA unwavering support. This spirit must continue for the continued success of the CAA and its membership.”

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