The Illinois Soybean Association Taps Kincannon & Reed to Find CEO

October 10, 2019 – The Illinois Soybean Association has retained Waynesboro, VA-based executive search firm Kincannon & Reed to launch a national search for its next CEO. Managing directors Lisa Johnson and Carolyn Schubert are leading the assignment.

The Illinois Soybean Association is a statewide organization that enables Illinois soybean producers to be the most knowledgeable and profitable soybean producers in the world. It represents the soybean farmers in Illinois through two roles: The Illinois Soybean Board (ISB), through the soybean checkoff, funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and The Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) manages membership and advocacy efforts that support Illinois soybean grower interests in local areas, Springfield, IL, and Washington, D.C.

The CEO will be charged with representing more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The will provide overall leadership and management for ISG/ISB’s strategic plan and business operations including its annual marketing, communications, advocacy and research efforts. Kincannon & Reed says that the successful candidate “has a global mindset towards agricultural markets, economics and political dynamics; with the ability to adapt behavior and decision making to the realities of that marketplace. S/he will influence strategy, oversee execution and provide oversight for governance, organizational leadership, and financial integrity.”

The search firm is seeking an executive with a minimum of 10 years of success in the management and oversight of a business, non-profit organization, or government agency or a significant subdivision of such an entity; preferably with an agricultural commodity. They should have a solid understanding of domestic and international market development, promotions, policy, research and communications in agriculture and how it relates to soybean producers, the global value chain, global policy, and the global public. Familiarity with oilseeds, biofuels, and exports are all a plus.

In addition, Kincannon & Reed says that the right candidate will have “proven success in managing budgets and leading fiscal management activities as well as demonstrated ability to collaborate and influence others as well as experience leading diverse teams in a collaborative environment with the ability to attract, retain, and motivate high caliber talent.”

Food, Agribusiness and Life Sciences Recruiters

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.


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Based in Chicago, Ms. Johnson is a member of Kincannon & Reed’s food and ingredients team in recruiting and succession assignments for the firm’s clients seeking general managers, presidents, and CEOs, as well as senior functional executives in marketing, sales, finance, business development, and R&D.

“Lisa brings important skills to a segment of our business that has seen significant growth over the past year,” said Paul Miller, global lead of Kincannon & Reed’s food & ingredients practice. “Her knowledge of the food value chain, the companies within it, and the talent pool of successful executives are the qualities our national and global clients look for in an executive recruiter.”

Ms. Schubert brings nearly 20 years of experience in the recruitment of board members, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, general counsel, and other senior level executives across a broad range of industries.

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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