Food-Industry Exchange Taps Kraft Exec

Looking to add technical spice to its operations, business-to-business exchange Foodtrader.com Tuesday announced that former Kraft Foods International CIO Nicholas Maturo is being brought in to work as chief operating officer of the Internet-based marketplace for food and agricultural companies.

Before joining Foodtrader.com, Maturo worked for nearly 20 years at Kraft Foods International, a Rye Brook, N.Y.-based subsidiary of Philip Morris Cos. that sells Kraft-branded products in countries outside the U.S. and Canada. He held a half-dozen management positions prior to becoming the unit's CIO, working as director of IS and in business jobs such as director of procurement, logistics and customer service.

Steve Berrard, CEO of Miami-based Foodtrader.com, said in a statement that Maturo is an executive "with international brand experience [who] understands how to apply new technology to an industry that is still deeply rooted in traditional business methods."

Having technical expertise at the chief operating officer level was seen as a must by Foodtrader.com executives, said a spokeswoman for the business-to-business exchange. "We looked at several candidates and felt Nick had the right mix," she said, adding that Maturo's relationships with other executives in the food industry were also attractive.

Foodtrader.com has been in business since 1997 and currently has offices in 33 countries. Last month, the company signed a deal to work collaboratively with two other food-industry B2B exchanges. Included in that agreement is Transora, an online marketplace announced last spring that includes Kraft Foods - the U.S. cousin of Kraft Foods International - among its 50 founding members.

Transora is currently working on a project that would let its users buy flour, sugar, grains and other food ingredients from suppliers through FoodTrader.com, which said it has signed up 13,000 buyers and sellers to participate in the exchange that Maturo will now be running on a day-to-day basis.

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