The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has named Nicko Debenham, director of development and sustainability at Armajaro Trading Ltd., as its chairman for the 2013-2015 term. Debenham most recently served as WCF co-vice chairman and has more than 25 years’ experience in the West African cocoa sector.  WCF also used the occasion to proudly announce its 100th company member. The news came at WCF’s semiannual Board meeting, taking place here one day ahead of the organization’s 23rd Partnership Meeting and Roundtable Sessions.

The WCF Board paid tribute to current Chairwoman Anne L. Alonzo, who will successfully complete her two-year term on December 31, 2012. Alonzo said, “I am pleased that Nicko will be leading the World Cocoa Foundation and am confident that he will continue to shine a light on the challenges faced by cocoa farmers, their families and their communities. I have been privileged to serve as chair and am so very proud of WCF’s work.  I will gladly support the chair and WCF’s efforts going forward”.

WCF President Bill Guyton added, “We are excited about the 100-member milestone and the energy and insights that our new leaders will bring to our growing organization over the next two years.” He said that, in gaining the 100th member, WCF was indebted to its founders, namely a small group of chocolate companies that 12 years ago recognized the need to focus industry support on cocoa farmers. 

In addition to Debenham, WCF announced that Michiel Hendriksz, Europe-based director of sustainability at Archer Daniels Midland Company’s Cocoa Division, will serve as secretary/treasurer for 2013-2015.  WCF’s 17-member Executive Committee also gains two new small business representatives:   Francisco Gomez, director of ingredients and international business at Casa Luker (Colombia), and Juan Fernando Valenzuela, director of agricultural promotion and commodities purchase at Compañía Nacional de Chocolates SA (also Colombia).

The World Cocoa Foundation is the leading non-profit organization in cocoa sustainability worldwide and represents more than 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.

Read the full press release here.