Kincannon & Reed Recruits CEO for NewLeaf Symbiotics

March 14, 2023 – Executive recruitment firm Kincannon & Reed, which exclusively focuses on food, agribusiness, and the related life sciences, recently placed Brent Smith as the new president and CEO of NewLeaf Symbiotics. Jon Leafstedt, Cassie Edgar, and Crystal Strauss led Kincannon & Reed’s identification, recruitment, and evaluation of a strong slate of well- qualified candidates. “Passionate and entrepreneurial, Brent is a results-oriented leader with a demonstrated track record of success,” said Mr. Leafstedt. “He is well-connected, highly knowledgeable in the space, and enjoys rolling up sleeves to execute.”

“Brent is known for his strategic planning capabilities and decision-making skills,” said Ms. Strauss. “His growth mindset and entrepreneurial nature will benefit NewLeaf as the organization continues to grow.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Brent to the NewLeaf team,” said Steve Kahn, CEO of NewLeaf Symbiotics. “His extensive experience in the agriculture industry, combined with his strategic vision and leadership skills, make him the ideal candidate to lead the company through its next phase of growth and development.”

With over 25 years of experience in the agricultural industry, and background in business development, strategic marketing and innovation, Mr. Smith is an experienced executive leader with a track record of exceeding revenue, profit, and share targets, as well as building long-term value and expanding global reach.

Before joining NewLeaf Symbiotics, Mr. Smith served as president of Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Nutrien, where he played a crucial role in expanding the company’s growth and global presence.

As president of NewLeaf Symbiotics, Mr. Smith will oversee the company’s commercial operations, including sales, marketing and business development. He will also work closely with the company’s research and development teams to advance the expansion of its innovative biologicals and technologies.

“I am excited to join the NewLeaf team and help lead the company into its next chapter,” said Mr. Smith. “NewLeaf has a strong history of innovation and a deep commitment to sustainable agriculture. I look forward to working with the team to build on this foundation and drive growth for the company.”

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

NewLeaf Symbiotics is an agricultural technology company engaged in discovery, development, production and commercialization of products containing beneficial plant microbes. NewLeaf’s family of products helps farmers increase yield by promoting stronger plants and better nutrient uptake, designed to ultimately contributing to the transformation of agriculture towards a more sustainable future.

Veteran 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. Leafstedt, managing partner, draws on his expertise in agriculture and biotechnology to help associations, cooperatives, and early-stage companies define their talent needs and recruit senior leadership. Passionate about connecting people with the right roles and organizations, he has led more than 200 searches in his tenure with Kincannon & Reed.

Ms. Edgar is a managing director with the firm. Her areas of expertise includes: Ag technology & inputs, biotechnology, research, and development & safety. She combines her scientific and legal experience to provide an in-depth understanding of client needs for executive search. Her experience includes serving as chief IP and regulatory officer for Genus, PLC and a 14-year career at Pioneer DuPont, where she served in research, legal and management roles. 

Ms. Strauss, who is based in Dallas and serves as a directorworks on engagements at the board, C-suite and VP level. Having spent the bulk of her career with boutique search firms, she is known for her ability to recruit across the functional areas of general management, technology, sales, marketing, finance and human resources. Since joining Kincannon & Reed in 2011, Ms. Strauss has worked on assignments across the food value chain with an emphasis on produce, animal health and nutrition, and crop inputs.

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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