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LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Louis Dreyfus Commodities said on Wednesday it has appointed Anthony Tancredi, its former cotton chief and 30-year company veteran, to run its global sugar business, the latest management shake-up at one of the world's biggest agricultural merchants.
In his first foray after 30 years in the clubby cotton industry, Tancredi is taking on one of the most powerful jobs in the global sugar market. He will oversee 16 operations from Singapore to Brazil to Switzerland that handle raw and white sugar as well as ethanol, the second-biggest U.S. refiner Imperial Sugar and two plants in Asia.
He replaces Jacques Gillaux, whose plans are not known.
Tancredi is joining the sugar business as the market appears to be in the early throes of a recovery from a five-year global supply glut that has punished prices and hurt merchants in the fiercely competitive 180-tonne market.
Installing a chief without a background in sugar surprised some traders, although some said it fits with the firm's ethos of often promoting from within.
In September, the company picked its Asia head as chief executive of the family-owned business.
It is not known if he will move to Geneva, Switzerland, from the U.S. cotton headquarters in Cordova, Memphis.
Still, his appointment will end years of speculation about his long-term plans.
Last month, he stepped down as head of the firm's global cotton business, the world's top cotton merchant. The company said at the time he would move to another unit of the trade house.
Three years ago, he quit as president and second-in-command of the cotton division after almost three decades, but returned six weeks later as chief, replacing Joe Nicosia, who is senior head, cotton and merchandising platforms.
As Nicosia's right-hand man, Tancredi was widely credited with helping to transform the cotton business from a modest domestic merchant into a global powerhouse that handles about a fifth of U.S. production each year.
He joined Louis Dreyfus in 1985, five years after Nicosia, who had been working in the firm's grain division. (Reporting by Sarah McFarlane in London, and Josephine Mason and Chris Prentice in New York; Editing by Mark Potter, Bernard Orr)