OFI, which includes the company’s cocoa division, was created in early 2020 following the announcement of its re-organisation.
FitzGerald is a widely respected and experienced business leader, having worked at Unilever for 37 years, including 18 years as an executive board member, during which period he served as Finance Director, Foods Director and Detergents Director until his appointment as Chair and CEO in 1996; a position he held for 8 years until 2004.
“It is an honour to be invited by the Olam Board to become the first Chair of the Board of OFI,” said FitzGerald.” I am delighted to join this exciting business which is right on trend through its natural ingredients portfolio which has a huge growth potential across the world.
“The track record in showing how commercial success, a passionate commitment to sustainability and positive social impact can integrate effectively, has a particular appeal.”
As well as chairing a broad range of companies and public bodies in the past, FitzGerald has also served on several Boards, including Bank of Ireland, Ericsson, Merck, Prudential Corp, the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Policy Council for Agriculture and Trade and was President of South Africa’s International Advisory Council. His current engagements include Chair of The Leverhulme Trust, Chair Hakluyt International Advisory Council and Patron British Irish Chamber of Commerce.
A Shekhar, Chief Executive Officer of OFI, said: “It will be a privilege to work with Niall and I am confident that his extensive business experience and the network that he has built over his stellar career will bring significant benefits to OFI.
“OFI has a great legacy and an exciting future ahead and Niall’s appointment comes at an important next phase of our evolution, in which his counsel and support will be hugely valuable for me and my management team.”
FitzGerald, who moved to his new role at OFI earlier this month, added: “The opportunity to bring this business to the public markets and recruit a diverse and skilled board will also be a new challenge. I look forward to supporting Shekhar and his talented executive team as they pursue sustained profitable growth with measurable social and environmental impact.”