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Internal moves in Arla’s International business


Following a series of recent appointments in the business, three positions in Arla’s International business have been filled by internal candidates showcasing the career development opportunities and talent available in Arla Foods.

Peter Hallberg, currently Managing Director of Arla Bangladesh, will join Arla Foods Saudi Arabia as the new Vice President from 1st of April 2023.

Commenting on Peter’s appointment, Kim Villadsen, SVP MENA said: “I am very happy that Peter will be taking up the role as Managing Director for our business in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is obviously our main market in MENA/International and has a long history of providing senior leadership talents to Arla globally. Peter has a very impressive Arla career and track record behind him. He is known for his excellent leadership skills and for building very strong and high performing organizations delivering impressive results. I am very confident that Peter is a perfect match for continuing our growth journey in KSA and together with our local KSA LT, will take the business to new heights.”

Peter joined Arla in 1992 starting his career in Copenhagen in Finance and then in 1998 started handling Export sales. In 2000, Peter took the role of National sales manager in Saudi Arabia, then became General Manager of Arla Kuwait from 2003 where he established the local JV. In 2010, Peter became Export manager for Rest-of-World before assuming the role of Managing Director in Bangladesh from 2014 to date, where he considerably lifted the business to more than 100 mEUR.

Following his appointment, Peter said: “I am very proud and humbled to have been offered this opportunity to move back to Saudi Arabia, where my whole expat adventure started. I know that a lot has changed in the last 20 years since I left Saudi Arabia, and it is with the deepest respect for those changes that I am returning to KSA. I can’t wait to come back and be part of the team in KSA and MENA that have been delivered so amazingly over the last decade and more. Being part of the biggest contributing team in International, is a dream come true for me, and it feels like I’m coming home again. Although proud and excited to make the move to KSA, It is also with a heavy and sad heart that I will be leaving Bangladesh. The journey we have been on over especially the last 7 years is probably the highlight of my time in Arla Foods, and working with such a talented and skilled team in Bangladesh has been an absolute honor to me. I will never forget what we have achieved together, and I will keep following the continued journey for both Bangladesh and SEA.”

Jonathan Grant, previously Vice President of Retail Sales in Arla Sweden, will join Arla Rest-of-MENA Markets as the new Vice President from April 17th 2023.

Commenting on Jonathan’s appointment, Kim Villadsen, SVP MENA said: “I am delighted to welcome a senior capacity like Jon to Arla MENA. The VP Rest-of-MENA Markets role is a newly established position aiming at leveraging the significant growth potential we see outside KSA/UOQ in the region. Heading up a market cluster of Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, our Distributor Sales markets as well as our Early Life Nutrition business, Jon will be focusing on identifying new growth and profit possibilities but also ensuring we have the right go to market models and setups across his cluster. Despite being new to MENA, I am confident that Jon can leverage his substantial International and commercial experience to step-change this part of our business. I look very much forward to working with Jon and am sure he will be a great asset not only to Rest-of-MENA markets but also the wider MENA organization.”

Jonathan joined Arla in 2015 after spending 15 years at P&G in various sales, marketing and leadership roles in the UK, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden. At Arla, he first led the Swedish Fresh Dairy portfolio. He then took the role of VP of Sales in Sweden, leading the creation and development of the retail sales function for 4 years. In his role as VP of Sales, Jonathan’s team continuously drove a transformational agenda, increasing revenue by c.100M Euros, growing market share every year across categories and customers and opening up new channels to deliver additional branded growth and profitability. Jon is a strong believer in the importance of diversity to deliver performance and, under his tenure, the sales leadership moved from being almost 100% male to a 50/50 split.

Following his appointment, Jonathan said: “Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Arla Sweden and I feel a huge amount of pride over the terrific results that the team I led delivered, I felt it was time for a new adventure. I have always admired from afar the amazing business that Arla has created in the Middle East. When the opportunity to join Kim and the team opened up, I applied immediately and I was absolutely over the moon when I was offered the role. Whilst I have a tremendous amount to learn about the region, the different markets, the business and all the team, I am extremely excited to get going and figure out with everyone I will work with how we will hit, and hopefully exceed, the ambitious expectations that the company has for us”.

Laurent Ponty, currently Managing Director Indonesia, has been announced as the new Managing Director of Arla Bangladesh, taking the reins from Peter Hallberg who has accepted the position of head of Saudi Arabia

Laurent will relocate to Bangladesh with his family and begin his new role with effect from 1st April 2023.

On Laurent’s new appointment, Bas Padberg, vice president and head of South East Asia, says: “I am very happy to announce that Laurent Ponty will succeed Peter Hallberg in the position as Managing Director Arla Foods Bangladesh. Laurent started in his latest role as Managing Director Arla Foods Indonesia in April 2021. Since then he has successfully changed the strategy, business model and organization and delivered strong results in the first full year of implementation in 2022.“

Laurent, who has a long career in Arla having worked in Europe as Category Director MYPC in the European team, Category Director in Arla Foods Denmark and various positions in Denmark, UK and the Middle East, says he very excited to make his next career move and reflects fondly on his time in Indonesia: ”It has been a privilege to establish a new direction for Arla in Indonesia, learn about the Indonesian culture, and experience the energy, optimism and executional skills of our people in the Jakarta office. They can be proud of what they have achieved so far. I am excited and humble about moving to Bangladesh, knowing that we can rely on a very strong team, a love brand, and unique commercial capabilities to deliver our growth ambitions"

Arla Foods is an international dairy company owned by more than 8,400 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Arla Foods is one of the leading players in the international dairy arena with well-known brands like Arla®, Lurpak®, Puck® and Castello®. Arla Foods is focused on providing good dairy nourishment from sustainable farming and operations and is also the world’s largest manufacturer of organic dairy products.

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