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ED&F Man chief executive leaves after "very challenging year"

* Howell had been CEO for three years

* Move follows recent restructuring of sugar business (Adds background)

LONDON, Oct (Shenzhen: 000069.SZ - news) 31 (Reuters) - The chief executive of ED&F Man, Phil Howell, is leaving the group as part of a senior management reshuffle after "a very challenging year", the company said on Tuesday.

The employee-owned agricultural commodities and brokerage group, which was established in 1783, said in a statement that Rafael Muguiro will lead the group through the next phase of growth and development as group executive chairman.

He has served as chairman since 2014, having previously held the position of CEO.

The company also named Laurie Foulds as Group Chief Operating Officer. He has been Group Chief Financial Officer since joining in 2010.

Earlier this month the company announced that the managing director of its commodities division, Jan Kees van der Wild, had decided to step down.

That move was part of a restructuring driven by difficult market conditions in its sugar business.

The company's portfolio includes businesses involved in trading sugar, coffee, molasses and animal feeds, grains, pulses, shipping and capital markets. (Reporting by Nigel Hunt; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)