Kincannon & Reed Recruits Chief Sustainability Officer for National Pork Board
May 2, 2023 – Executive recruitment firm Kincannon & Reed, which exclusively focuses on food, agribusiness, and the related life sciences, recently recruited James Burr as the chief sustainability officer of National Pork Board. “Jamie brings an innate ability to communicate across audiences and is known for being a collaborative leader who instills trust,” said Sally Day, managing partner. “His deep foundational knowledge of this sector paired with his strong network of industry experts will prove extremely beneficial in his new role.”
“Jamie is a relationship builder with a demonstrated track record of success in this industry,” said Jon Leafstedt, managing partner. “He is a highly strategic thinker that excels in the development and implementation of programs on a large scale, making him an exceptional fit for the National Pork Board.”
“Jamie’s input has been invaluable to several key producer-funded initiatives for more than a decade,” said Bill Even, CEO of National Pork Board. “He’s served on and chaired several Pork Board environmental and sustainability committees and task forces, so his leadership has already helped shape the industry’s sustainability vision. Establishing a CSO position and adding Jamie to the team continues to demonstrate our industry’s strong commitment to advancing pork sustainability.”
Mr. Burr is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sustainability and environmental program leadership. He comes to the Pork Board from Tyson Foods where he recently served as director of environmental compliance and was the environmental lead for all of Tyson’s live-animal production businesses. Prior to that, Mr. Burr led several environmental, safety, health, and sustainability teams since joining the company in 1999. Notably, he led the development of Tyson’s greenhouse gas science-based target, and its deforestation and land-stewardship targets.
In his new position, Mr. Burr leads the National Pork Board’s sustainability team of five public health, animal welfare, and environmental experts tasked with advancing the pork industry’s sustainability goals and metrics. He is responsible for overseeing the sustainability program and team. Together with his team, Mr. Burr will be expected to develop environmental practice strategies that help balance business obligations with the goal of improving local and global environments.
“The CSO role serves as a conduit between producers, supply chain partners, Wall Street investors and consumers,” said Mr. Even. “Jamie knows and has worked with all these audiences. He understands the business, he understands the consumer, and knows the importance of building relationships among all stakeholders along the supply chain. Burr’s previous experience puts him in a unique position to be an advocate to producers and for the industry.”
“It’s an honor for me to lead this team and take on the responsibility of shaping and sharing the industry’s sustainability story,” said Mr. Burr. “We have bold goals and metrics that producers have laid out for us, and I look forward to working with the staff and the board to meet and report on those efforts.”
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The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion, and consumer information projects, and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability.
Serving the Food, Agribusiness, and the Related Life Sciences Sectors
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.”
What Recruiters Should Look for in Chief Sustainability Officers
Sustainability has been a growing business concern for years. Recently, it has become even more of a strategic priority. “Investors are demanding information about sustainability activities… and customers and affected communities are becoming more aware [of] the power that they have to affect corporate behavior on this issue,” International Finance Corporation (IFC) said in their Focus 15 report.
“This demand for sustainability in business is driven by broad awareness of the danger of climate change,” according to a recent report from BoardEx, which is now a part of Altrata. “But also, corporate decision makers are beginning to recognize the business benefits sustainability practices can provide,” said the study. “Leadership teams now have a responsibility to prioritize sustainability in their sourcing, operations, and partnerships—ethically, but also in terms of business success.” As Heikki Iikka, EY Nordics region assurance managing partner says: “The markets have spoken: Sustainable operations are deemed good for business, and, as such, required across the board.”
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.
Based in Ohio, Ms. Day is part of the firm’s food and ingredients team. Prior to joining Kincannon & Reed, Ms. Day was vice president, corporate purchasing for the J.M. Smucker Co. Her tenure at J.M. Smucker also included responsibility for the leadership and organizational development strategy, establishing foundational elements of talent management, organization development, and leadership and employee development. Previous to her role at J.M. Smucker, Ms. Day held leadership positions with Bestfoods, a division of Unilever.
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Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media