A new leadership team has been voted in at the International Cotton Association (ICA) following its annual general meeting, which took place recently during the association’s Hong Kong 2018 trade event. Bill Ballenden (CEO, Dragontree) takes on the role of ICA President. Bill will be supported by Azeez Abdul Syed (Senior Vice President, Olam Cotton) as First Vice President and Alex Hsu (Managing Director, Formosa Trading Co Ltd) as Second Vice President.
New to the board are Pierre Chehab (Platform Head EBS, Louis Dreyfus Company Suisse SA) Shafiqul I Sarker Sohel (Managing Director, Purbani Group) and David Wookey (Director, Sterling Cotton Limited).
On accepting the role of President, Bill delivered a compelling and humorous speech that touched on the value the ICA brings to members and the value members bring in return: “Tonight, I wish to talk about what it is that the ICA does for its members. We have all experienced first-hand what it is to understand that the measure of how much something matters to us, is to have it taken away. It’s called taking something for granted. So, I would like you all to please imagine what our professional lives would look like if the ICA did not exist.”
Bill joined the cotton business in 1996 as a trainee at Ralli Brothers & Coney in Liverpool. After spending a number of years in Liverpool and a year living in Abidjan, he moved in 2001 to join The Seam to build and manage their international cotton trading platform. In 2007 Bill joined Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) as a trader in Geneva. He then spent the years 2008 to 2014 managing LDC’s cotton businesses in India and China, living in Gurgaon and then Beijing, and eventually managing the Asia region out of Beijing. In 2014 Bill once again moved to Geneva and managed the European & Black Sea regions, China, Singapore and Australia for LDC. At the end of 2017 Bill left LDC to start his own company, called Dragontree, focusing
on online auctions for commodities.
Comprising 24 members, the new board line-up continues to represent the ICA’s global membership across all sectors of the supply chain and builds on its commitment to engage the entire global cotton community.