By Julia Payne
LONDON (Reuters) - Global energy trader Gunvor Group has shaken up its management and appointed a new global head of risk as it re-aligns its offices after weathering a tough year, sources familiar with the matter said.
Since chief executive Torbjorn Tornqvist sold some of his shares to employees, the firm has steadily been beefing up its management. Tornqvist currently holds 64 percent of the company through a family trust.
A seven-person management committee became a nine-person executive committee at the start of 2018. The year has also seen a generational shift with some of the old guard leaving the Geneva-based firm that was founded in 2000.
After 12 years at the company, the company's head of crude oil trading, Jose Orti, is retiring.
Pascal Michel, who was the former head of gasoil trading, was appointed the new global head of risk in June. Michel is taking the reins from Tim Legge, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Also this month, Stephane Degenne was appointed the new head of structured trade development after being head of crude for Europe and Asia, while Jerome Gonelle, who was co-head of gasoline with Stephen Kuster, will oversee coordination between global trading desks.
"It's part of the company's move to strengthen management, by promoting long-time traders and hiring new hungry ones as some retire," a source said.
Julien La Chon, who was head of business development in Asia, also left in the last week.
Gunvor's Asia presence has also seen other changes. Patrick Martin formally became the managing director in Singapore in May after being named interim head in January.
As part of a wider reshaping of its activities, Gunvor decided to close its Bahamas trading office and open a London one focussed on natural gas.
The firm suffered a sharp profit drop last year after investing heavily in building a North American presence although it expects to reap the rewards this year.
Other departures in the last few weeks include the firm's head of market research David Fyfe as well as its head of human resources Chris Gribben.
The trading environment has been harsh for many traders in 2018 after a somewhat lacklustre 2017. Many traders caught out in abrupt price swings relating to U.S. crude.
BP reported a loss in trading in the second quarter while Royal Dutch Shell said its first half trading profits fell short of expectations.
(Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Adrian Croft)