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ADM hires chief risk officer from CHS in latest corporate shake-up

By Jonathan Saul and Karl Plume

LONDON/CHICAGO, April 28 (Reuters) - Archer Daniels Midland Co has hired a chief risk officer from rival CHS Inc , the U.S. agribusiness confirmed on Friday, a further sign of an internal shake-up as a global grain glut pressures its profits.

Chicago-based ADM has let key traders go, exited energy trading and brought in new leadership at its global trading desk in Switzerland in recent months. The company said in early April that it planned to close its South African trading desk, and it shrank its operations in Argentina at a time of increasing food production.

An ADM spokeswoman said Stefano Rettore was joining as chief risk officer. He will replace Mark Bemis, who is retiring after three decades with the company.

The company, which reports first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, did not say why Bemis was retiring at this time.

An internal company memo that Reuters saw said Rettore would join ADM on May 1 and take over as chief risk officer on Sept. 1. He will report to Chief Executive Officer Juan Luciano and be based in Rolle, Switzerland.

"Stefano brings deep experience and expertise, and we are looking forward to him joining our team," spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said.

The memo said Rettore, who previously was president of CHS International, the largest U.S. farmer-owned cooperative, would also be on ADM's executive council.

Among Rettore's roles at ADM will be to find ways to use new technologies to make its hedging activities more efficient and consistently profitable, the memo said.

A trade source described Bemis in his previous roles as being Luciano's "right-hand man."

ADM confirmed to Reuters earlier this week that it had replaced the leader of its global trading desk because Gary Towne, a two-decade veteran who ran it for the past year, is retiring.

The changes come during a time of increased competition from Chinese trading house COFCO Group, which has begun an aggressive expansion into the international grain market. Low commodity prices and record global stocks of crops like corn, soybeans and wheat have meanwhile thinned trading profits.

In February, ADM reported a 41 percent drop in fourth-quarter net earnings to $424 million. Gains in its agricultural services segment were blunted by more losses by its global trading desk, the second quarterly loss for the unit in 2016. (Editing by P.J. Huffstutter and Lisa Von Ahn)