February 12, 2019 – Gregory J. Duerksen, chairman and former CEO of Kincannon & Reed, died unexpectedly in Richmond, VA, on January 31. He was 61. Mr. Duerksen joined Kincannon & Reed in 2001 and became chairman and CEO in 2007.
“Greg’s contribution to the firm cannot be overstated,” said Issy Perez, president and CEO of Kincannon & Reed. “He always reminded us to stay connected with clients and candidates to build our business and to deliver high-quality services.”
After leading the acquisition of the firm in 2007, Mr. Duerksen guided Kincannon & Reed to become the leading search firm in the food and agribusiness sectors, tripling the firm’s staff and partner group while maintaining its entrepreneurial, collaborative culture.
“It is upon this strong foundation that we will honor his legacy by executing his vision of continued growth working with organizations that feed the world,” Mr. Perez added. “We extend our deepest condolences to Greg’s wife, Ellen, and the rest of his family during this painful time.”
“Those fortunate towho have known Greg grieve the loss of a dear friend, a passionate industry advocate, a sincere mentor, a hard-working colleague and a servant leader with unwavering integrity,” Kincannon & Reed said in a statement.
Part of Mr. Duerksen’s long-term vision for the firm involved evolving the leadership structure to expand the partner group and bring in a food executive as president and CEO for day-to-day management, allowing him to move into the chairman role and focus on what he loved: “Building relationships with clients and industry leaders. These transitions have positioned the firm well, enabling the organization to continue with the strategies and vision that Greg fostered,” said the firm.
“Greg believed that those working in food and agriculture serve a noble purpose, and he had a deep understanding of the prominent role effective executives play in the success of every organization in the food value chain,” the firm said. “His ever-present passion for recruiting leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy will live on in the firm.”
As a corporate CEO prior to joining Kincannon & Reed, Mr. Duerksen led the successful turnarounds of a Pepsi-Cola bottling company in Mexico and of Latin America’s largest fertilizer producer and exporter. Prior to these posts, he was vice president, marketing and development of Terra Industries, acquired by the global fertilizer company CF Industries.
As chairman of the Food Safety Committee of the Chemical Producers & Distributors Association, Mr. Duerksen twice testified before Congress on food safety issues. Earlier in his career, he was a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and was named an associates fellow for Harvard Business School’s acclaimed agribusiness program.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media</em