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Olam International's Azeez Syed is new ICA president

Oct '19
Azeez Syed (inset). Pic: ICA
Azeez Syed (inset). Pic: ICA

A new leadership team has been voted in at the International Cotton Association (ICA) following its annual general meeting, held earlier this month during the association’s Liverpool 2019 trade event. Azeez Abdul Syed, president – Cotton, Olam International Limited is the new ICA president. Syed has been involved with the cotton industry for over 21 years.

Azeez will be supported by Alex Hsu, managing director, Formosa Trading Co Ltd, as first vice president, and Tim North, CEO, ECOM USA Inc, as second vice president.

New to the board are Eimear McDonagh, general manager—Export Marketing & Logistics, Namoi Cotton Alliance; Kim Hanna, founder & director, TransGlobal Inspections LLC; Peter Wakefield (Wakefield Inspection Services); Jamie Welsh (DJW Cotton Consulting Ltd); and Baofu Yang (China National Cotton Exchange).

“Over the years, I have personally benefited from being a part of the ICA community. I have made some wonderful friends and built some privileged relationships. I consider serving the ICA members on the board for the last six years and now as president, a very small way of giving something back to the industry. We do not need to look far beyond other parts of the textile value chain to understand how chaotic our industry could be without the ICA.

“Our association plays a critical role in maintaining order – promoting the values of equitable trading and contract sanctity. It benefits all members – and the wider industry. It is crucial not only that we continue to support our association, but that we champion membership of the ICA,” said Syed.

Syed joined Olam International Limited, Singapore in May 1998 and is currently president & regional head of Olam Cotton based in Dallas, Texas, responsible for trading and supply chain businesses in North and South America. He is a member of Olam Cotton’s executive committee which manages the global trading portfolio, and he has been a significant contributor to Olam’s journey to a leadership position in the cotton industry.

Syed began his career with Olam in CIS and was responsible for starting Olam’s operations and establishing a dominant position in the Central Asia and Mediterranean regions. He moved to Singapore in 2007 and has since held various leadership positions which include setting up trading and marketing operations in China and managing Olam’s US, Brazil, and India cotton businesses. He is also a member of Olam International’s Operations Committee.

Prior to Olam, he worked for five years with the Gillette group of companies in various sales and marketing roles and for a year with Grindwell Norton Ltd. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad and a Master’s degree in International Business from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi. He has been an active member of the ICA and was elected to the board of directors in October 2014. He is also currently a director on the board of American Cotton Shippers Association.

"Comprising 24 members, the new board line-up continues to represent the ICA’s global membership across all sectors of the supply chain and builds on its commitment to engage the entire global cotton community," ICA said in a statement.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RKS)

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November 2019

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