A much-anticipated changing of the guard at the top of Europe's largest apple exporter, Italian consortium Vog, will take place at the start of August 2019, the group's board of directors has confirmed.
Gerhard Dichgans, the group's long-serving chief executive and a greatly respected and influential member of the international apple business, will hand over to Walter Pardatscher, who currently runs the company that operates Italy's A22 motorway – in which the region of Trentino-South Tyrol has a 32 per cent share.
Replacing Dichgans has been seen in the wider apple business as a major challenge for Vog, given his considerable commercial experience as well as his ability to achieve consensus among the consortium's various member cooperatives.
The process of finding Dichgans' successor has apparently not been easy either. As the company itself admitted following this week's announcement, it has known for a year that Dichgans was planning to go into retirement.
Although Pardatscher is already based in South Tyrol, grows apples himself and is chairman of one of Vog's cooperatives, it is understood that identifying him as the right candidate required the help of a major recruitment agency based in Monaco.
The board concurred that Pardatscher was the individual with the right skills to drive forward the consortium’s ambitious plans and keep them very much on the right road.