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Syngenta Group's new CEO Jeff Rowe.

People moves: Foodpanda CEO departs amid rumors, Syngenta has a new boss, Post CEO on sudden medical leave

November 6, 2023

Stay up to speed with the latest people moves in agrifood and tech with AgFunderNews’ monthly column of the industry’s biggest leadership changes. In the last month, Foodpanda’s longtime CEO departed amid a bit of drama, Syngenta Group and Vertical Oceans welcomed new executives, and CPG giant Post’s CEO takes an unexpected leave of absence. 

Are you in a new role or company? Know someone who has left? Drop me a line to share the details: [email protected].

Former Foodpanda CEO Jakob Angele

Foodpanda CEO out amid alleged leaks

Foodpanda‘s longtime CEO Jakob Angele stepped down as CEO in mid-October. He has been replaced by John Fang, most recently the food delivery company’s chief international officer.

Delivery Hero-owned Foodpanda hasn’t publicly commented on why Angele left. However, Tech in Asia reported that he “allegedly leaked details” of the talks around Delivery Hero selling the company to competitor Grab — the current leader among Southeast Asia’s food delivery companies.

“Allegations have arisen that Angele was forced out of his role after he leaked details about confidential talks considering Grab purchasing Delivery Hero’s Southeast Asian business, as alleged in posts by Rebekah Rankine, his former girlfriend,” Tech in Asia posted on LinkedIn.

Angele’s departure happened amid a third round of layoffs for Foodpanda, with this latest round being done in the name of becoming “more agile.”

Syngenta Group’s new CEO Jeff Rowe

Syngenta Seeds boss dubbed new CEO

In a more congenial changing of the guards, agribusiness giant Syngenta Group will get a new CEO on Jan. 1 with the appointment of Jeff Rowe, current president of the company’s largest business unit, Syngenta Crop Protection.

Rowe, who’s also a fifth-generation farmer, joined the company in 2016 as president of Syngenta Seeds and North America. He’s well known for leading Syngenta’s efforts around soil health and regenerative agricultural practices.

He’ll step in after current CEO Erik Fyrwald retires. Fyrwald will continue as advisor to the chairman of Syngenta Group and remain on the company’s board of directors.

Vertical Oceans cofounder & CFO Patrick Vizzone.

‘A great fit’ for Vertical Oceans

Singapore-based aquaculture company Vertical Oceans has just appointed Patrick Vizzone as co-founder and CFO. He’ll head up financial management, strategy, and business development at the automated shrimp farming company.

“Our new CFO, Patrick Vizzone, has a long history with hyper-perishable foods and [as] a board member of the International Fresh Produce Association,” Vertical Oceans wrote on LinkedIn. “This is a great fit for our same day farm to fork fresh shrimp 365 days a year.”

Vizzone, who’s also a senior advisor to AgFunderNews parent company AgFunder, most recently served as managing director, head of agri-food, and head of impact investment at Franklin Templeton Global Private Equity.

More people moves

⚕️ Debbie Chirnomas joins Faeth Therapeutics as chief medical officer. Dr. Chirnomas will head up the early and late-stage clinical development for Faeth’s oncology pipeline.

🩺 Post’s president and CEO Robert V. Vitale taking “unexpected” medical leave of absence. The company noted that “it is too soon to know the course of treatment and timing of recovery,” and that COO Jeff A. Zadoks will serve as interim CEO.

🚜 Precision agtech company Semios appoints Sumer Johal as new CEO. Johal replaces Michael Gilbert, who says he stepped down and is “more interested in governance than operations.”

🌱 Syngenta Group names Hengde Qin as new CFO. Qin, who will step into the role on Dec. 1, replaces Chen Lichtenstein, who is “stepping down to pursue other business opportunities.”

👩‍🌾 Tegan Nock becomes chief operating officer of soil health startup Loam Bio. Nock is also a cofounder of Loam Bio and a longtime player in Australia’s agricultural industry.

🌳 Kristen Weldon joins Cibus Capital as partner and head of natural capital. Weldon will launch new initiatives dedicated to natural capital as well as incorporate it into Cibus’ existing strategies.

🍺 Glenn Caton to succeed Soren Hagh as Heineken president Europe on Jan. 1, 2024. Caton joins from Mondelez International, where he is currently senior vice president global commerce.

🥩 Cultivated meat startup Ivy Farm Technologies appoints Harsh Amin as chief scientific officer. A biotech veteran, Amin brings expertise in stem cell biology, tissue engineering and cell culture media development to the company.

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