Our Leadership Team

Central Management:


Mohamed Elsarky

Chief Executive Officer, Unifrutti Group

Appointed as Unifrutti Group’s Chief Executive Officer in November 2023, Mohamed Elsarky is a seasoned executive with a distinguished career in the food industry, bringing a proven track record in leading growth and global expansion across various FMCG categories, market channels, and geographies.

With over 20 years of leadership experience, Elsarky has held prominent roles in several global organizations. Notably, he served as the CEO of Kellogg Australia and New Zealand, leading the company through a period of growth and innovation. His contributions extended to the Danone Group’s United Biscuits, where he held the position of President, and to Pladis Biscuits North America, where he served as President.

Elsarky’s expertise also includes his tenure as the Chairman and CEO of Artisan du Chocolat. Furthermore, he served as President and CEO of Godiva Chocolatier, overseeing its global expansion to over 100 countries.




Mauro Benda

Chief Financial Officer, Unifrutti Group

Mauro Benda is Group Chief Financial Officer at Unifrutti since 2019 and he has direct responsibility over the Unifrutti Group’s financial planning, reporting, control and management of treasury and investments.

Mauro has extensive experience in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, which he gained by carrying out global projects for large Italian and international companies for over 10 years at BNP Paribas, where he held the role of Vice President for the Debt Capital Market department focusing on M&A, corporate restructurings, and turnarounds. Earlier in his career, Mauro worked in consultancy serving at PwC in Italy and in investment banking at Redi & Partners in the UK.

He holds a degree in administration, finance and control from the University of Perugia and an MBA from the SDA Bocconi School of Management.




Rénier Krige

Chief Human Resources Officer, Unifrutti Group

Rénier Krige has been the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Unifrutti Group since 2020, with direct control and responsibility for the Group’s people, leadership and talent management to enable business strategy implementation. Before being appointed as the Group CHRO, Rénier was the Head of HR for the South African Business Unit of Unifrutti in a consultative relationship.

Rénier has 35 years of experience in people practice and human resources in multiple industries, including agriculture, transport, retail, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, aviation, energy (generic, nuclear & renewables), engineering, logistics and supply chain, financial services, warehousing, healthcare, and mining (coal & iron-ore).

He holds a MA degree in Leading Innovation & Change from York St. John University in the UK and is currently a PhD candidate with Monarch Business School in Zurich, Switzerland. His research is premised on how organisational dynamics impact human capital in creating brand loyalty.




Karl Stehelin de Taisne

Chief M&A and Strategy Officer, Unifrutti Group

Karl Stehelin de Taisne joined the Unifrutti Group as the Chief M&A and Strategy Officer in January 2023.

Bringing over 15 years of extensive experience in Investment Banking and Private Equity, he plays a pivotal role in shaping and driving the Group’s strategic vision. A key aspect of his role involves orchestrating significant mergers and acquisitions, bringing about structural shifts, and setting new directions for the company.

Karl began his career in Investment Banking in Paris, working in firms such as Lazard and DC Advisory. He later founded KAST Advisory, an M&A consultancy, before transitioning to Mubadala, a leading Sovereign Wealth Fund based in Abu Dhabi. During his eight-year tenure at Mubadala, Karl was instrumental in leading strategic asset management projects for three years, focusing on multiparty negotiations, conflict resolutions, and government engagement. He then shifted to a five-year stint in Private Equity investments and asset management, primarily in agribusiness (including permanent crops, genetics, and aquaculture) and sectors like industrial technology and life sciences.

Karl holds a Master of Science in Management from HEC Paris, graduating in 2010.




Navin Askaran

Chief Integration Officer, Unifrutti Group

Navin Askaran, Chief Integration Officer of Unifrutti, has over 24 years’ gobal experience (North America, Asia and Russia) with leadership roles in operations management, finance, strategy, business transformation and restructuring. He has extensive experience across the agri value chain through various roles at Olam International, Agrocorp and Valency International.

Navin is a graduate of Harvard Business School (GMP) and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (CPA equivalent). His passion for excellence is fueled by his core values on authenticity, people, and purpose.




Gianpaolo Neri

Chief Information Officer, Unifrutti Group

Gianpaolo Neri is the Chief Information Officer of the Unifrutti Group from 2021, with direct control of the Group’s IT perimeter and at the helm of Unifrutti digital transformation.

Formerly member of the Board of Directors of Unifrutti, Gianpaolo gained his significant experience in the fields of innovation and digital transformation by serving in multiple consulting firms in Italy and abroad. Before becoming CIO of Unifrutti, he was Senior Manager for Consulting Services at Grand Thortnon Consultants and worked for almost 20 years at EY.

He graduated in Economics and Commerce from the University of Modena, CISA qualified in 2003.




Kalia Larkou

Chief Compliance, Risk and Sustainability Officer, Unifrutti Group

Kalia joined Unifrutti Group in May 2021 and she is responsible for leading the Group Sustainability Strategy and ESG roadmap, Compliance governance framework and significant aspects of risk management and regulatory compliance.

She has more than 25 years’ experience in key managerial positions in the Corporate sector in multiple industries as well as the financial services sector across many global jurisdictions focusing on Compliance, ESG and Corporate Governance. During her early career she worked also for Ernst & Young and PwC as Auditor and Consultant.

Kalia is a fellow Member of the Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and she holds an MBA from Nottingham University. She is also an approved trainer leading the UG Sustainability Academy, a Certified Executive Coach and holds a certificate from University of Cambridge on Circular economy principles.



Regional Heads:


German Illanes Pizarro

Chief Executive Officer, Unifrutti Chile

German Illanes Pizarro is the Chief Executive Officer of the Chilean Business Unit of Unifrutti from 2016.

German has in-depth knowledge of the global fresh produce industry and over 20 years of experience in fresh fruit global exports from Latin America. Graduated in agricultural engineering from the University of Chile in Santiago in 1992, he joined Unifrutti in 1999 in the position of Commercial Director of Unifrutti Chile.

He holds an MBA from the Adolfo Ibanez University in 2005, is a former Executive Director of the Unifrutti Group’s Board of Directors and currently sits on the Boards of various fruit and vegetable organizations and associations.




Kennard Wong

Chief Executive Officer, Unifrutti Tropical 

Kennard Wong is Chief Executive Officer of the Unifrutti Tropical Business Unit which includes production and international export of bananas in the Philippines and trading of bananas and other fruits in Japan.

Prior to becoming the CEO of the Tropical Business Unit in 2022, Kennard joined in 1998 as the Chief Financial Officer of Unifrutti Japan and is currently serving as Chief Executive Officer and Representative Director. He has an extensive experience inside the fruit industry with a specialization on banana products and as of 2020 Kennard is also the President of the Japan Banana Importers Association (JBPA). Before joining Unifrutti, he held the position of Senior Auditor at Ernst & Young ShinNihon in Japan.

Kennard is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with specialization in Accounting from the University of Hawaii.




Linda De Nadai

Chief Executive Officer, Unifrutti Europe and Africa

Linda De Nadai is the Chief Executive Officer of Unifrutti South Africa since 2015.

With more than 25 years of professional experience across Europe and South Africa, Linda De Nadai has a deep and extensive knowledge of the global fresh fruit industry and a comprehensive knowledge of the Unifrutti Group.

Before being appointed CEO of Unifrutti Europe and Africa (“EA”) Region, Linda has served as the CEO of Unifrutti South Africa since 2015 and, prior to that, for Unifrutti in the Italian perimeter, as the CEO of one of the companies that eventually joined to form the European Business Unit of Unifrutti and as the Sales Manager for the European area.

Linda graduated in Political Science with specialization in international economics at the University of Padua and subsequently obtained a master’s in International Commercial Law.




Malek Nass Duce

Chief Executive Officer, Unifrutti Emerging Markets

Malek is Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Markets, that includes the Business Units of Turkey and China. The Turkish Business Unit exports a variety of Turkish products to the Europe, Middle East & Far East markets, whereas the Chinese Business Unit imports a variety of products from Chile, Philippines, Argentina, South Africa and other countries.

Malek joined Unifrutti in 1991 and has held different positions throughout his career in Turkey and other Unifrutti Group’s Business Units, from field management to packhouse operations to marketing & procurement. He has extensive experience inside the fruit industry in different regions in the world, specializing in stone fruits, apples, pomegranates, figs and citrus.

Malek speaks 6 languages and has a bachelor’s in business administration from the European University in Switzerland.