June 19, 2018 – CropLife America (CLA), the leading association for the U.S. crop protection industry, has chosen former National Pork Board executive Chris Novak as its CEO. Russell Reynolds Associates assisted on the assignment. Mr. Novak will start his new role on Aug. 20.
“I’m pleased to announce that Chris Novak has been selected by our board’s search committee to become just the fifth staff leader of our association in its 85-year history,” said Jim Blome, CLA board chairman and Bayer North America president and CEO of the Crop Science Division. “Chris brings a wealth of agriculture trade association and industry experience to CLA, in particular his recent roles as CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Board. With his broad experience and years of working alongside CLA as a key ally, Chris knows our association and industry and is eminently qualified to succeed our long-serving CEO, Jay Vroom.”
Mr. Novak also held leadership positions for key Indiana commodity organizations, and earlier in his career worked at Syngenta, the American Soybean Association and on Capitol Hill.
“CLA is fortunate to recruit Chris to lead its staff,” said Mr. Vroom, who has led CLA since 1989. “I’ve worked alongside Chris on many issues of common interest to our respective associations and most recently have co-chaired the production ag CEO council over the past three years. He brings great knowledge and energy to the leadership of CropLife.”
Mr. Novak said he was looking forward to starting his new job. “I’m grateful to the CLA board for their confidence in my ability to step into this leadership role and carry forward a legacy of vision and focus for ag technology into the future,” he said. “Farmers and food consumers alike depend on the kind of innovation that CropLife members bring to ag production, whether it be for food, fiber or renewable fuel production. The benefits of pesticide products, which also protect public health, are enormous and will only grow as the world population expands and dietary expectations evolve.”
CropLife America is a national trade association representing companies that develop, produce and market crop protection products. Its mission is to ensure crop protection products. Its suppliers are recognized for their long-term and important role in the protection of public health, the environment and biodiversity, and meeting the urgent need for food, feed, alternative energy and fiber for a rapidly expanding world population and global economy.
Russell Reynolds’ CEO practice works with board leadership and nominating committees of public and private companies, as well as non-profit organizations, to recruit, develop and advise board members, board chairs and CEOs. The firm has placed CEOs at an array of organizations, including Neiman Marcus Group, the DoSeum, Parkinson’s Foundation, USA Volleyball, CDC Group and Save the Children UK, among many others.
Turning to Search Firms
In recent years, food businesses and agricultural organizations worldwide have faced high demand for new leaders, and executive searches have stepped up to find the talent.
Here is a sampling of recent searches in the agricultural sector from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
Denver area-based MJM Global Search has placed Kraig Roesch as the new CEO of the National Livestock Producers Association, an association of livestock marketing cooperatives and their captive livestock credit corporations. Scott Stuart, longtime head of the NLPA, recently left the organization to become CEO at Cattlemen’s Beef Board.
Kincannon & Reed placed Tony Arnold as CEO of Willowood USA in Broomfield, CO. Managing partners Jon Leafstedt and Gary Weihs led the assignment. Mr. Arnold brings over 25 years of experience in the agriculture industry, holding a variety of leadership positions with American Cyanamid, BASF and Dupont.
Boutique leadership provider Hilmar & Ross in conjunction with Yellow Folder Research has recruited Greg Schlafer as SVP of sales and marketing for J.R. Simplot’s Food Group. Ken Smuland, CEO of Hilmar & Ross, led the assignment. Mr. Schlafer previously served as president of Lamb Weston, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods.
The McAulay Smith Firm placed Alexander Pease as EVP and CFO of Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. President Steven Smith led the assignment. Snyder’s-Lance manufactures and markets snack foods throughout the U.S. and internationally. He will replace Rick Puckett, who left his role in November.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media