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UPDATE 2-InVivo's grain trading chief leaving French firm

Valerie Parent

(Updates with spokeswoman's confirmation of Bernhard's departure)

PARIS, April 17 (Reuters) - Stephane Bernhard, head of grain trading at InVivo, is leaving the French agricultural group, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday, confirming earlier comments from sources familiar with the move.

Bernhard joined InVivo as head of trading five years ago after previously working for global trading house Louis Dreyfus and as an investment fund manager.

He reorganised InVivo's trading business during a tough period in grain markets and as French exports were eroded by cheaper Black Sea suppliers like Russia.

The overhaul of the trading unit saw InVivo cut staff in France, open desks in Singapore and Brazil, and develop a digital platform to get more competitive supply offers.

InVivo Chief Executive Thierry Blandinieres said in January he wanted to work with other cooperative groups, including by potentially merging trading desks.

The spokeswoman did not give any details about Bernhard's departure. Bernhard declined to comment.

The sources who first reported the move said InVivo was looking to recruit a new trading chief, with one adding that Blandinieres would take charge of the unit for the time being.

InVivo, a grouping of around 200 farming cooperatives, is one of the largest exporters of French grain and has activities ranging from food retail to wine distribution.

Amaury de Gavelle, another trader at InVivo, was also leaving the company in a move unrelated to Bernhard's departure, the sources added.

(Reporting by Valerie Parent, additional reporting and writing by Gus Trompiz, editing by Susan Fenton and Kirsten Donovan)