Kincannon & Reed Recruits CTO for Calyxt

May 20, 2019 – Waynesboro, VA-based executive search firm Kincannon & Reed has recruited Travis Frey as the new chief technology officer of Calyxt, a healthy food ingredient company in Roseville, MN.

Dr. Frey brings extensive knowledge in plant biology and biotechnology to a newly created position at the company. As CTO, he will be responsible for the research and development team to propel product development and its pipeline of healthier food ingredients.

“With over 15 years of agricultural industry and technology innovation experience, Travis will be an excellent asset to complement the Calyxt team as we grow and assess our business needs,” said Jim Blome, CEO of Calyxt. “Travis has a well-rounded background in the field, and I’m confident that in partnership with our chief science officer, Dan Voytas, he will be a critical voice in our continuous evaluation of our food ingredient pipeline.”

Dr. Frey previously served as vice president of science and innovation at WISErg Corp., where he was responsible for developing and championing the science and technology vision, strategy and execution of company initiatives. His experience also includes various positions with Monsanto, including controlled environment facility director, global dicot transformation facility director, genome wide genotyping and platform innovation lead and trait integration innovation lead.

Calyxt partners with farmers and food companies to deliver traceable plant-based products developed to be healthier and more sustainable than their conventional counterparts. It uses cutting edge plant breeding techniques to develop products that help improve diets by reducing bad fats, allergens and toxins.

Founded in 1981, Kincannon & Reed focuses exclusively on the food, agribusiness and life sciences sectors. The firm, which has offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, recently appointed Isvaldo Perez as president and CEO. He succeeded Greg Duerksen, who continues to serve as chairman and remain active in the firm’s recruitment services. Mr. Perez has more than 30 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry in the food and beverage sectors, as well as executive search experience.

Technology Executives in Demand

Demand for top technology executives continues to gain momentum. Chief technology officer hiring, in fact, is expected to grow 18 percent by 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. It’s a trend that is keeping executive search firms well occupied.

In addition, the booming technology sector, vibrant even when the economy was softer, shows little sign of retreat, according to a host of recruiters who service the talent needs of companies across the field. It continues to produce capabilities and services that few imagined just a decade ago.

Yet a recently conducted survey of global executives by Odgers Berndtson and Forrester Research revealed that 84 percent of companies lack the necessary talent base to execute a digital transformation.

Recruiting CTOs

A number of executive search firms have placed CTOs in recent months. Here’s a look at a few from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Boston-headquartered Polachi Inc. placed Wayne Haubner as the new chief technology officer of Escher Group. Partner Peter Polachi led the assignment. Previously, Mr. Haubner was chief innovation officer of Synergi Partners.

Acertitude recruited Richard Harris as chief technology officer of DRB Systems, a provider of technology-enabled devices and software solutions to the car wash industry. Senior partner Scott Carberry led the search. Mr. Harris was identified, evaluated and placed in 58 days. DRB is a portfolio company of New Mountain Capital, a private equity firm which invests in high-quality leaders in growth industries and manages over $20 billion in assets.

Assisted by search firm Polachi Inc., Henry Schein Inc., a provider of healthcare products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, recently placed Christopher Pendergast as its SVP and CTO. Mr. Pendergast most recently served as CTO for VSP Global

Specialist recruiters Turnkey Sports and Entertainment has placed former Tampa Bay Lightning executive Sean Walker as the Philadelphia Phillies’ new CTO. Mr. Walker has 19 years of technology and information systems experience in highly visible sports environments where he was responsible for strategic IT planning and project execution. 

Rockville, MD-headquartered executive search firm JDG Associates recently recruited Vijay Desai as chief technology officer of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board in Washington, D.C. President Darren DeGioia led the assignment. Previously, Mr. Desai was head of IT operations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

CA-based search firm McDermott & Bull placed Jonathan Bourgoine as CTO with Nasdaq-traded, a provider of postage online and shipping software solutions. This executive recruiting engagement was conducted by partner Craig Lipus, principal consultant Garrett Lipus, and senior recruiting associate Brian Selvey. Mr. Bourgoine previously served as VP and chief …

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

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