Shekhar was appointed CEO of ofi in January 2020 upon its creation following the reorganization of the Olam Group. Shekhar joined Olam in 1992 and has been an Executive Director and a member of the Group Board since 1998. Shekhar held a variety of roles in the Olam Group, he was previously Group Chief Operating Officer, Executive Director – Finance and Business Development, and prior to this he incubated and managed various global businesses including the Nuts, Spices and Packaged Foods businesses, where he led many of the Company’s organic and inorganic growth initiatives.
Rishi was appointed CFO of ofi in January 2020 upon its creation following the reorganization of the Olam Group. Rishi began his career with Olam in 2000 and during this period has served as CFO India, CFO West Africa, and President and Global Head of Corporate Finance. He is a founding member of the first Circle of Practice in Asia of The Prince of Wales Charitable Project, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S). A4S inspires action by finance leaders to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy.
Ashok is a management graduate with almost 30 years’ experience. He has been with Olam since 1992 and is the Global Head of the nuts business which includes almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios and walnuts. He is also Chairman of the Executive Human Resource and Compensation Committee.
Following more than 30 years’ experience in the cocoa and the chocolate industry, including working with ofi and Olam since 1998, Gerard has recently retired from the position as CEO of the cocoa business. He continues in his role as Chief Sustainability Officer, leading ofi's sustainability efforts globally, across all product platforms. Gerard was also a former Chairman of the Federation of Cocoa Commerce.
Prakash joined Olam in 1998, taking responsibility for coffee operations in Uganda. He moved into the risk function in 2001 and relocated to Vietnam in 2007 to take on the role of Country Head, extending to a regional role in 2010.
Since 2016, he has been responsible for Olam’s Southeast Asia and China operations, which he continues to manage today. His key markets include China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Thailand.
Prakash is a Graduate of Commerce and holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management. He was recently awarded the prestigious Young Alumni Achiever Award by his alma mater for Corporate Leadership.
Vivek joined Olam in 1992 to head operations in India. He is currently responsible for the Coffee and Commodity Financial Services businesses. Originally trained as an engineer, Vivek has over 30 years’ agri‑commodities experience.
Sandeep adopted the responsibility for nuts and cocoa operations in Indonesia in 1998, when he joined Olam. He moved into the coffee business in 2003 and relocated to Singapore. In 2004 he started ofi’s dairy business. Today, Sandeep leads ofi dairy globally and is also responsible for driving growth and synergy for ofi across Asia Pacific.
Sandeep is a Graduate of Commerce and holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.
Teji joined Olam in 1997 and went on to manage ofi’s cocoa business in Togo, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Singapore. He moved to London in 2009 to manage the company’s global cocoa beans and products business, returning to Singapore in 2019.
He was integral in the integration process following the acquisition of ADM Cocoa in 2015. He is an expert in cocoa trading and origination, and previously served on the Board of Cocoa Association of Asia.
Briony joined the Olam Group in 2011 as part of the global sustainability team, becoming Global Head of Group Communications in 2012. She was responsible for promoting and protecting Olam’s reputation across all stakeholder groups, including employee communications and engagement. In 2020 she took on the role of CMO to ofi, encompassing customer marketing, employee engagement and reputation management.
Ian joined ofi in January 2022, taking responsibility for the global legal, compliance and company secretarial teams.
Ian has over 30 years of experience working in both private practice and global FTSE listed companies across a diverse range of sectors including food, media and distribution. He has significant commercial, M&A and management experience with previous roles including executive management responsibility for HR, information security, indirect procurement and risk at a global level.
Kamesh joined Olam in 2010 and held various senior manufacturing, innovation and quality roles. In 2020 he became Chief Innovation & Quality Officer at ofi, overseeing a global network of Innovation centers and driving quality and food safety across 100+ food ingredient manufacturing plants.
Kamesh holds a Master’s degree in Food Science from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York.
Paul joined ofi in October 2020, taking responsibility for ofi’s Safety, Engineering, non-commodity procurement, planning, logistics and manufacturing footprint of 117 manufacturing assets and over 11,000 employees in 36 countries. Paul has over 20 years of experience in the branded FMCG food industry with roles spanning supply chain, general management & business transformation.
Dan joined ofi in January of 2022, bringing with him 35 years of FMCG food industry experience. His industry experience includes many iconically branded food companies, several private label manufacturing entities as well as multiple private equity portfolio companies. Specializing in end to end operations and supply chain disciplines, Dan’s focus is delivering the ‘one-ofi’ business for all stakeholders across a balanced scorecard of performance. As the global, functional lead for operations, Dan is responsible for aligning and realizing successful, holistic results for ofi across more that 115+ facilities around the globe.
Sathyamurthy (Satya) joined Olam in 1996 to manage Sesame and Cashew operations in Nigeria, before moving on to lead Cocoa and Cashew operations. He moved to Cameroon as Country Head in 2001 before taking the role of Country Head – Nigeria & Benin in 2004. He then established the business across South America in 2007. In 2020 he began his current role at ofi as Regional Head for Latam and head of Cocoa Americas
Satya has over 30 years of international industry experience. He is an agricultural Engineering Graduate from CAE, TNAU (India) and holds an MBA from IRMA.
Yusuke joined Olam in 2016 and has worked across a wide range of initiatives, including corporate strategy, re-organization & re-structuring, operational excellence and customer excellence.
He has been in the food & beverage industry for over 15 years and has held various positions within the sector from supply chain & procurement, international sales & marketing, to business development and M&A.
Yusuke holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.
Usha joined ofi in September 2022, taking responsibility for driving the company’s one-ofi strategy and amplifying its unique entrepreneurial culture leading global diversity, inclusion and equity, organization effectiveness and global talent management.
With over 25 years of professional experience across a diverse set of industries and iconic brands, she has expertise across finance, sales, marketing, project management and strategy. Usha has worked across all areas of HR – leading HR strategy, talent management, organization transformation, leadership development and succession.
Steve joined ofi in September 2022, taking responsibility for expanding ofi’s leadership position on sustainability by digitizing traceability, supply chain delivery, and social impact transparency.
Steve has over 30 years of experience, which includes working at blue chip global listed companies across a diverse range of sectors including distribution, consumer goods and food ingredients. He holds significant experience in Information Technology (IT) management and leading large-scale digital transformational initiatives.
The trend for bold colors and flavors in food and beverages is rising this year. With consumers increasingly exposed to an array of global food trends, including a wide range of exotic flavors and colors, many are becoming more experimental. At the same time, confectionery products, treats, and snacks are often a moment of fun and relaxation in consumers’ daily lives, so they can be a great opportunity for experimenting with new and exciting shades.
Sydney Valla was an undergrad at Fresno State when she first discovered ofi (olam food ingredients) at a career fair. They were passing out tomato-shaped stress balls and recruiting new grads for a management trainee program. She signed-up for an interview and the rest is her-story.
What motivates you when you wake up and come into work?
My team! There are six of us who are 100% dedicated to the Spices eCommerce business and we have a combined 35+ years’ experience at ofi. Together, we work to be a solution provider for new and existing customers, put in place processes to help the business grow and overcome any challenges that are thrown our way.
Anything you’d like to add to help others succeed?
Being in numerous different positions throughout my career (supply chain, product line, sales) has made me a more well-rounded employee and allowed me to view problems from many different angles to find better solutions. I’m glad that I joined a company that offered career growth and expansion. Being a sponge during the early stages of my career allowed me to soak up lots of different information.
What has been your favorite moment at ofi so far?
When I was a product line manager, there was a large fast-food chain that featured one of our ingredients in a delicious and highly promoted LTO. It was so cool to go through the drive thru, pick up lunch, and know that one of the products that I helped to sell was in an item that was being sold across the country.
Our company purpose is ‘be the change for good food and a healthy future.’ In what way do you live our purpose through your work?
Through the eCommerce offerings, we can connect with new customers and segments that have previously been difficult to reach. This allows us to work with new customers to make educated purchasing decisions about where their product comes from, our sustainability offerings, and more. Outside of work, I sit on the Board of Directors for the Central California Food Bank which feeds over 300,000 community members in the Central Valley.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Imagine waking up to a world without your morning cup of coffee or being able to enjoy your favorite chocolate. Unthinkable, right? But climate change threatens the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers who grow these everyday ingredients.
That's where HEARTH (Health, Ecosystems, and Agriculture for Resilient, Thriving Societies) comes in. It is a collaborative public-private partnership approach to sustainable development in biodiverse landscapes initiated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Together, USAID, olam food ingredients (ofi), and partners have invested approximately $50 million across six cocoa and coffee projects worldwide, including four HEARTH partnerships. We aim to equip farmers with the right tools and training to transition to more environmentally friendly techniques without sacrificing their livelihoods. There are three key ingredients at the core of HEARTH’s approach to climate action: