Kincannon & Reed Finds CEO for SyAqua Group

January 20, 2023 – Executive recruitment firm Kincannon & Reed, which exclusively focuses on food, agribusiness, and the related life sciences, recently placed Fred H. Kao as chief executive officer of SyAqua Group, a leader is applying genetics and biotechnology to shrimp breeding. The assignment was led by managing partners Michael Whitney and Phillip Osborne.

With a 20-year history in the genetics industry, Mr. Kao has a proven track record of successfully growing businesses and building teams. Prior to joining SyAqua, he held roles with Amlan International – U.S., Cobb-Vantress – China, and Aviagen – U.K. and U.S.

“Direct and open, Fred is communicative and responsive,” said Mr. Whitney. “He is at ease managing time zone challenges and cultural differences. His entrepreneurial nature and resourcefulness will benefit SyAqua greatly as the organization continues to grow.”

In his new role, Mr. Kao is responsible for developing and implementing the strategic vision of the organization in conjunction with the board of directors. He is tasked with working closely with SyAqua’s team of scientists to prioritize innovation development that drives growth. In addition, he will work with senior leaders to set the cultural tone of the organization from the top to ensure a positive and innovative working environment. Mr. Kao is responsible for building high-performing, cross-functional, collaborative teams within the organization.

A Respected Leader

“Fred is known for working alongside his team as an adaptable, hands-on leader,” said Mr. Osborne. “His relationship management skills are tremendously strong, be that within his own team or with clients, and he brings a robust network of industry relationships with him to his new role.”

As a multi-lingual business leader, Mr. Kao has built a reputation for delivering revenue growth in the animal protein and health industry, specializing in team building and a strong customer focus. He manages strategy, P&L, sales, technical service, marketing, logistics and HR of business units. His experience encompasses work in the U.S., Asia, Middle East, and Africa, and leadership of sales and tech teams in the Asia-Pacific, and NA and SA regions including company-owned operations in China, Philippines, Mexico, and New Zealand.

Related: Kincannon & Reed Recruits CEO for California Agricultural Leadership Foundation

Founded in 2002 in California, SyAqua serves the shrimp hatchery market. The company, which is based in Singapore, utilizes innovative technologies to deliver top tier hatchery feed, genomic selection, quantitative genetics and breeding science with an emphasis on optimal growth, assimilation and nutritional value.

Proven Recruiters

Founded in 1981, Kincannon & Reed serves clients throughout the world from locations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The firm is based in Arlington, VA. Kincannon & Reed’s mission is: “We recruit leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy.”

Kincannon & Reed Recruits CEO for Highline Mushrooms
Kincannon & Reed recently placed Jose Cambon as the new CEO of Highline Mushrooms. “Jose is an ambitious, driven leader who enjoys a challenge,” said Janet Wightman, managing partner. “He is a strategic thinker with an impressive track record of building innovative teams that deliver results.” Mr. Cambon joins the company with more than two decades of experience, with the past 10 years in the mushroom sector in Australia. Prior to joining Highline Mushrooms, he held a series of progressively senior roles with Costa Group over the past decade. Most recently, he was GM of Vertical Farming.

Mr. Whitney, who is based in Malton Yorkshire, U.K., focuses on food and beverage and global agribusiness. A consultant to Kincannon & Reed since 2012, he is an executive coach and search professional. He brings more than 25 years industry experience as a senior executive working for well-known global beverage, consumer goods, and agribusiness companies that include Allied Domecq, RB, and Bunge. Mr. Whitney began his career in commercial roles before promotion into progressively senior general management positions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. His executive experience extends across marketing, sales, operations, finance, and supply chain, and includes M&A, organizational strategy, and business transformation. He has also held a number of non-executive directorships on the boards of private equity portfolio companies. As a search professional, he has led multiple C-suite and senior executive engagements for multi-nationals and earlier stage companies across the food and agribusiness value chain.

Mr. Osborne is based in Sydney, Australia. With more than 25 years of C-level experience in both public and private businesses, he works with clients across Kincannon & Reed’s Asia-Pacific region in the FMCG, beverage, food and food ingredients, and agribusiness sectors. Mr. Osborne began his career at the accounting firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG). He then moved into executive positions with Mount Gambier Cooperative Dairy, Southern Egg, Farm Pride Foods, Evans & Tate, and Gourmet Food Holdings before moving into advisory services where he compiled a record of successfully managing turnaround and recovery efforts on behalf of private equity firms.

Related: Kincannon & Reed Recruits President for the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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