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Fast-growing global commodities and energy group, SIMEC, has recruited leading international commodity and trade finance specialist, Rene Baars, to help spearhead the drive for major expansion of its European operations, headquartered in Geneva.

Mr Baars joins as SIMEC strategic board member and Chief Finance Officer for SIMEC Commodities Europe, following a distinguished career of over 20 years in commodities finance; most recently as a Managing Director and Head of Worldwide Commodity Coverage for ICBC Standard Bank, based in London.

Prior to that he was Managing Director and Regional Head of Europe for Commodity Trading and Agribusiness at Standard Chartered Bank in Geneva. He previously held senior sales and client relationship positions at ING and ABN AMRO.

To aid the growth ambitions of the US$2.4 billion a year SIMEC Group – part of the GFG Alliance – Dutch-born Mr Baars will be responsible for creating a strong funding platform for SIMEC Commodities’ expanding bulks and energy trading activities and for establishing the Swiss-based operation as the principal trading platform for the SIMEC Group.

Commenting on his new appointment he said: “SIMEC has very exciting plans for international expansion and I am looking forward very much to working in such an entrepreneurial environment. After more than 20 years in senior commercial and managerial roles for banks active in commodity and trade finance, I hope to use my specialist experience in this field to contribute to SIMEC’s growth.”

Jay Hambro, the GFG Alliance and SIMEC’s Chief Investment Officer, who leads the group’s extensive global expansion programme, said: “Rene has an excellent reputation in the field of commodities and trade finance. His business pedigree, skill and expertise are just what we need to fulfil our international development plans in the months and years ahead. His arrival greatly strengthens our senior team.

“SIMEC’s trading operations in Geneva are now well established and will leverage off a firm financial footing which Rene is eminently well qualified to deliver.”