PureCircle Names Peter Lai as CEO, Stephane Ducroux as Deputy CEO

CHICAGO, Ill. – PureCircle (LSE: PURE), the world’s leading stevia producer and innovator, announces a new and exciting chapter in its leadership with several important changes to its executive team. Peter Lai Hock Meng will become the Company’s Chief Executive Officer on March 2nd, and Stephane Ducroux is becoming Deputy CEO immediately.

These changes will provide the platform for the next chapter of the company’s growth. The company’s new senior leaders will provide an enhanced focus on supporting customers, optimizing the company’s business processes and renewing its dedication to value-creating innovation. They will help build on the success in the marketplace that the company has already achieved.

In a previous London Stock Exchange filing dated November 14, 2019, PureCircle announced its CEO, Magomet Malsagov, had voluntarily stood aside as CEO and a board member on a temporary basis and would serve as Adviser to the Chairman. Further to that announcement, Mr. Malsagov has resigned from his role as Adviser to the Chairman.

The company’s new CEO and Deputy CEO are executives with deep expertise and significant operational and commercial experience. Mr. Lai has a long history with the company, previously served on its board and was recently renominated to the board. Mr. Ducroux is currently the company’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Mr. Lai will leverage his considerable experience in financial management and corporate governance and his intimate knowledge of PureCircle operations – especially in China — to strengthen the company’s financial resources and to develop further its supply chain and overall organizational effectiveness. Meanwhile, Mr. Ducroux will continue transforming the commercial organization, building high performing teams that support the needs of its customers as they bring their great-tasting products to market. Mr. Ducroux is a customer-centric executive. He will lead PureCircle’s commercial and strategy agenda and operations, continuing to focus the company on providing customers with the company’s distinctive ingredient solutions and with strong support, while building on PureCircle’s legacy of innovation.

Peter Lai is currently Chairman of HML Consulting Group, and during his career he has held various senior management positions in financial institutions including Morgan Grenfell Asia & Partners Securities, SocGen Crosby Securities, Citigroup Private Bank and OCBC Private Bank. He has sat on the boards of more than 20 listed companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and United Kingdom over the past 20 years, mainly as Chairman of Audit Committee. Mr. Lai has had significant experience working with the Company having been a previous independent non-executive member of the Company’s Board from June 2008 to March 2017.  Mr. Lai is the advisor to the Board for matters relating to China and is the Chairman and Legal Representative of one of the Company’s subsidiaries in China.

Completing the company’s leadership team, as previously announced, the new CFO, Mr. Jimmy Lim Kian Thong will join the Company very soon and he is expected to join the PureCircle board on February 4, 2020. Jimmy, aged 58, is a Fellow Chartered Accountant of Singapore and a Fellow CPA of Australia with over 27 years of financial and operational management experience. He has held leadership roles including as CEO and Executive Director of Haitong International Securities (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Haitong International Securities Group Limited, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

With these appointments, PureCircle will be stronger, more customer focused, and more innovative than ever before.

John Slosar, chair of the company’s board and recently interim CEO, will remain board chair and relinquish the interim CEO position, as the company is appointing a new, permanent CEO. PureCircle is deeply grateful for his wisdom and guidance during this transition.

Regarding the new senior leadership, Mr. Slosar noted: “I know Peter and Stephane well and have great confidence in them. They bring the right balance of familiarity with the company, fresh perspective and expertise needed to help lead PureCircle to new heights of innovation, customer partnership and growth.”

The company’s ongoing audit is now moving toward completion. PureCircle continues to operate effectively as the audit is finalized, efficiently producing and supplying high-quality stevia ingredients, serving current customers in a timely manner and building its business with new customers.

Finally, the Board would like to thank Maga Malsagov for his vision and dedication in building PureCircle.”

About PureCircle

  • PureCircle is the only company that combines advanced R&D with full vertical integration from farm to high-quality, great-tasting innovative stevia sweeteners.
  • The Company collaborates with farmers who grow the stevia plants and with food and beverage companies which seek to improve their low- and no-calorie formulations using a sweetener from plants.
  • PureCircle will continue to: lead in research, development and innovation; produce a growing supply of multiple varieties of stevia sweeteners with sugar-like taste, using all necessary and appropriate methods of production; and be a resource and innovation partner for food and beverage companies.
  • PureCircle stevia flavor modifiers work in synergy with sweeteners to improve the taste, mouthfeel and calorie profile, and enhance the cost effectiveness, of beverage and food products.
  • Founded in 2002, PureCircle is continually investing in breakthrough research and development and it has been granted over 214 stevia-related patents with more than 300 applied for patents pending.
  • PureCircle has offices around the world with the global headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
  • To meet growing demand for stevia sweeteners, PureCircle is rapidly ramping up its supply capability. It completed expansion of its Malaysian stevia extract facility in March 2017, increasing its capacity to rapidly supply the newer and great-tasting specialty stevia sweeteners and helping provide ever-increasing value to its customers.
  • PureCircle’s shares are listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
  • For more information, visit: www.purecircle.com

About stevia

  • Given the growing global concerns about obesity and diabetes, beverage and food companies are working responsibly to reduce sugar and calories in their products, responding to both consumers and health and wellness advocates. Sweeteners from the stevia plant offer sugar-like taste and are becoming an increasingly important tool for these companies.
  • Like sugar, stevia sweeteners are from plants. But unlike sugar, they enable low-calorie and zero-calorie formulations of beverages and foods.
  • Stevia leaf extract is a natural-based, zero calorie, high-intensity sweetener, used by global food and beverage companies as a great-tasting zero-calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  • Stevia is a naturally sweet plant native to South America; today, it is grown around the world, notably in Kenya, China and the US.
  • The sweet-tasting parts of the stevia leaf are up to 350 times sweeter than sugar: stevia’s high-intensity sweetness means it requires far less water and land than sugar.
  • Research has shown that the molecules of the stevia leaf are present and unchanged in the dried stevia leaf, through the commercial extraction and purification process, and in the final stevia leaf extract product. All major global regulatory organizations, across 65 countries, have approved the use of high-purity stevia leaf extracts in food and beverages.
  • For more information on the science of stevia, please visit https://www.purecirclesteviainstitute.com/