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Image credit: Marcus Samuelsson/Aleph Farms

People moves: Ag CEO leads Bill Gates-backed rice venture, new CEO for Oatley, chef Marcus Samuelsson joins Aleph Farms

June 9, 2023

To keep us all up to speed on the latest people moves in agrifood, AFN publishes a monthly column of the industry’s biggest leadership changes.

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

Rize CEO Dhruv Sawhney. Image credit: Dhruv Sawhney.

Rize-ing to the top

Agritech veteran Dhruv Sawhney was just appointed CEO of Rize, a new joint venture from Wavemaker Impact, Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Temasek, and GenZero.

Rize aims to decarbonize rice cultivation in Asia, starting with Southeast Asia.Sawhney will lead the charge on implementing emissions reduction strategies. “After enteric emissions, rice is the second-largest driver of agricultural emissions globally. Technology exists to decarbonize rice cultivation, but it requires farmers to change their behavior,” Sawhney said in a statement.

His own resume includes founding supply chain startup Wotu Technologies (acquired by Zomato) and, most recently, COO of India-based

Oatley CEO Jean-Christophe Flatin. Image credit: Oatley

CEO shift at Oatley

Oatley president Jean-Christophe Flatin became the alt-dairy company’s chief executive officer on June 1.

Flatin joined Oatley in 2022 after more than 30 years at CPG giant Mars. Oatley simplified its organizational structure under Flatin watch, reaching firmer financial footing than has been the case in the last 18 months or so.

Toni Petersson, who has served as CEO since 2012, has transitioned to the role of co-chairman of the Board of Directors.

Image credit: Marcus Samuelsson/Aleph Farms

Celeb chef tackles cell ag

James Beard Award-winning Marcus Samuelsson has joined Israel’s Aleph Farms in an advisory capacity. The two will work together to commercialize the forthcoming Aleph Cuts, a line of cultivated steaks.

Samuelsson, who also made a personal investment in the company, will provide culinary advice and help with product development and overall strategy. Upon regulatory approval for Aleph, he will serve Aleph Cuts in his US restaurants.

“Like us, Chef Marcus believes in making a positive impact on our food systems with creativity, courage, and care.” Aleph co-founder and CEO Didier Toubia said in a statement.

More people moves

🐝 Former Driscoll’s CEO joins precision pollination company. Kevin Murphy, a longtime ag vet and former boss of the world’s largest berry company, will join BeeHero‘s Board of Directors where he will provide expertise on both pollination and agriculture.

🍳 The EVERY Co. appoints chief production officer. Scott Hine formerly served as chief innovation officer at Novus International. He’ll head up the manufacturing strategy behind scaling of EVERY’s animal-free egg protein products.

🧀 New chief legal officer for animal-free cheese maker Nobell Foods. Justin Ferber, who has experience in life sciences, technology and healthcare, will lead Nobell’s legal function which encompasses corporate, compliance and intellectual property. [Disclosure: AFN’s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Nobell Foods.]

🍁 Maple Leaf Foods has a new leader. The CPG company recently announced Curtis Frank as its new president and CEO. Frank’s an inside hire, having spent more than two decades at Maple Leaf. Michael McCain steps down as CEO after 25 years of leading the company.

🍔 Troubled alt-meat startup v2food‘s CEO departs. Nick Hazell, who also founded the company, has parted ways with the four-year-old startup as the latter winds down its production plant as part of a “strategic shift.”

🥩 Redefine Meat gets new UK boss. The alt-meat startup just announced the appointment of Simon Owen as UK managing director. Critical to Owen’s role will be expanding Redefine Meat’s presence UK foodservice, new regional markets and retail.

📦 Wiliot to accelerate climate strategy with new VP. Newly appointed vice president of climate & circularity Antony Yousefian will oversee the IoT company’s development and implementation of ambient IoT-based climate and circular economy solutions.


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