Virtual Congress

Program

Speakers

We are preparing an outstanding lineup of speakers from the industry and beyond. Please check back regularly for updates.

DONALD COLES President - International Seed Federation
MICHAEL KELLER Secretary General - International Seed Federation
PETER BAKKERChair - Private Sector Guidance Group, UN Food Systems Summit; CEO - WBCSD
RURAMISO MUSHUMBAFarmer and entrepreneur (Zimbabwe) - World Farmers Organization
ERIK FYRWALDChief Executive Officer - Syngenta Group
MARY ANN P. SAYOCPublic Affairs Lead - East West Seed International
FRANCK BERGERCEO - Limagrain, Vegetable seeds
MAY CHODCHOEYExecutive Director - Asia and Pacific Seed Association
ARTHUR SANTOSH ATTAVAR Chairman & Managing Director - Indo-American Hybrid Seeds (India) Pvt. Ltd
CSABA GASPARProgramme Manager - OECD Seed Schemes
SZABOLCS RUTHNERRegulatory Affairs Manager - ISF
MARCO VAN LEEUWEN Managing Director - Rijk Zwaan
LEE ANN JACKSONHead of the Agro-food Trade and Markets Division - OECD
MICHAEL LEADERSeed Regulatory Lead, Asia - Bayer
JEAN RISTAINOProfessor - Entomology and Plant Pathology Department, NC State University
NICO HORNDirector General - EPPO
FRANK CLAESSENSVice President of Operations - BASF Vegetable Seeds
DOAA ABDEL-MOTAAL Senior Counsellor - World Trade Organization
LORENA BASSOCEO - Semillas Basso
ERIC DEREUDREGlobal External Affairs Director - Corteva
TRUELS DAMSGAARDCEO - DLF

The sessions will be moderated by: 

CLAIRE DOOLEFormer BBC correspondent and international spokeswoman
MARCEL BRUINSConsultant - Bruins Seed Consultancy
ROSE SOUZA-RICHARDSSeed Health Manager - ISF
FRANCINE SAYOCCommunications Manager - ISF

Sponsors – hosted sessions :

FRANZ FRANER Key Account Manager & Cluster Lead Americas - Cimbria
ANDREAS FRÖHLICH Cluster Lead DACH & Balkans - Cimbria
PALLE PEDERSEN Head of Product Management Seedcare - Syngenta Seedcare
KRISTEL BURGEMEISTER Head of Seedcare Institute - Syngenta Seedcare
JONATHAN BROWN Head of Syngenta Seedcare - Syngenta Seedcare
ANDREEA POPA Head Global Key Account Seedcare - Syngenta Seedcare
FRANCESCO DELL'ENDICE Founder and CEO - QualySense AG
ERIC DEREUDRE Global External Affairs Director - Corteva
JOZSEF MATE Head of Communication - Corteva

Speakers from our Partners :

VIKTORIA DE BOURBON DE PARME Food Transformation Lead - World Benchmarking Alliance
ALICE INGABIRE Lead, Access to Seeds Index - World Benchmarking Alliance
TOMAS ZABOROWSKI - Head of Sustainability Excellence - Bayer
BEATRICE ELOHOR Technical Sub Committee member of the Executive Council - National Seed Trade Association of Ghana
HELENE KHAN NIAZI International Agricultural Manager- International Seed Federation
PAULO CAMPANTEABRASEM
MARCELO PACOTEABCSEM
MARCOS ROVERIUNIPASTO
ANDRE SCHWENINGABRASS
SILMAR TEICHERT PESKEPublisher - SEEDNEWS
CHRIS LUSVARDIEditor - Seed Today
DAVID ZARUKProfessor at Odisee University College, environmental-health risk analyst and risk communications consultant
KEVIN FOLTAProfessor at University of Florida, host of Talking Biotech, and science communicator
SHAWN BROOKPresident, Seed World Group
MANJIT K. MISRADirector, Seed Science Center, Iowa State University
WALKER LAMBERTDirector, film director and producer, Iowa State University

SHAWN BROOK

Shawn Brook has seen tremendous changes in the communications sector during the past 20-plus years. He’s not afraid of change, and that fearlessness allows him to lead Issues Ink in a time when the Internet is prominent but print media still widely consumed. Using his expertise to help agribusinesses make sense of this new reality, Shawn gives clients what they need to help their organizations survive and thrive — custom solutions designed around their needs and built by Issues Ink’s staff of dedicated professionals. Quality of content is crucial, but Shawn knows that delivering it effectively is equally important.

MARCO VAN LEEUWEN

Marco van Leeuwen is Managing Director of Rijk Zwaan, a position he has held for the last 11 years. His areas of interest include commercial affairs, seed production and logistics. He is an alumni of IESE Business School.

After his agricultural business management study in 1993, Marco started working for Dutch vegetable seed breeding company Rijk Zwaan. Since then he has held several roles related to seed operations, marketing & sales before he was appointed as Managing Director in 2009. In this position, Marco wants to contribute towards sustainable global food production and food security with healthy vegetables.

Next to his new role in ISF, Marco is also currently chairman of the Anti-Infringement Bureau, whose main aim is to prevent infringements of and enforce the intellectual property rights of the vegetable breeding industry.

FRANK CLAESSENS

Chairman of the ISF Seed Health Group Board => A group that develops the strategies and policies for the International Seed Health Initiative (ISHI) and the Regulated Pest List Initiative (RPLI) within ISF.

Frank is working at BASF Vegetables Seeds in the role as Vice President of Operations Vegetable Seeds and is located in the Netherlands.

In that role he is responsible for the global supply of vegetable seeds within BASF from seed production till customer delivery.

He has wide experience in the vegetable seeds industry.

Frank started his career in R&D Seed Technology, followed by working in various managerial global positions in Seed Processing, Quality Control & Quality Assurance and Supply Chain, before he joined as Vice President Operations the Vegetable Seeds Leadership Team of BASF.

DOAA ABDEL-MOTAAL

Doaa Abdel-Motaal is Senior Counsellor at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agriculture and Commodities Division.  

She is the former Executive Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, the former Chief of Staff of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and former Deputy Chief of Staff of WTO. 

MICHAEL LEADER

Michael Leader leads Bayer’s seed regulatory efforts across the Asia region for both vegetable and row crops, including seed movement; seed law development advocacy; seed treatment and seed packaging compliance; and variety registration.

He is also currently Chair of the International Seed Federation’s phytosanitary committee. Michael has previously worked in the Australian government quarantine and biotechnology regulators as well as in international advocacy in Croplife International. He joined Monsanto in 2009.

JEAN RISTAINO

Dr. Ristaino works on emerging plant diseases that threaten global food security.  A major focus of research is to understand the factors that contribute to disease emergence including the epidemiology and population genetics of Oomycete plant pathogens in the genus PhytophthoraPhytophthora infestans caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, and is a reemerging threat to global food security.

She studies the population genetics and migrations of both historic and present day strains of the pathogen. Her lab was part of a multi-investigator group that sequenced the genome of the pathogen. We are now using the genome sequence to develop novel strategies for managing disease in the field. Her team has developed a web portal called USAblight.org that can be used to track recent outbreaks of disease using geospatial analytics. She also work on other pathogens of tropical crop plants including black Sigatoka on banana, downy mildew of tobacco, soilborne fungi and coffee rust that are threats to global food security.

Dr. Ristaino serves as the director of the “Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security” cluster at NC State, has served as a Jefferson Science Fellow for the US Department of State and received a Fulbright European Research Scholar Award to work with the University of Catania on late blight in Italy in 2018. In 2020, she was elected a Fellow of the American Phytopatholoical Society in August 2020 and named an AAAS Fellow in November 2020. In 2022,   

Dr. Ristaino will serve as a Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Ireland. Plant diseases do not stop at a nation’s borders and miles of oceans do not prevent their spread, either. That’s why plant disease surveillance, improved plant disease detection systems and predictive plant disease modeling – integrated at the global scale – are necessary to mitigate future plant disease outbreaks and protect the global food supply. She and a global team of researchers recently published a commentary in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. On “the Persistent Threat of Emerging Plant Disease in Global Food Security

 

LEE ANN JACKSON

Dr. Lee Ann Jackson is the Head of the Agro-Food Trade and Markets Division in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (TAD) at the OECD. Dr Jackson manages a team that works to develop and communicate evidence-based advice for governments with the aim of helping them improve the domestic and international performance of their policies for agro-food trade and markets.

Dr Jackson has over 20 years of experience in agriculture, multilateral trade, and management. She joined the OECD in 2020 after 16 years at the WTO where her most recent position was as Counselor of Food and Agricultural Policy Research in the Economic Research and Statistics Division. At the WTO, she also served as the Secretary to the WTO’s Committee on Agriculture in the Agriculture and Commodities Division where her responsibilities included the implementation and monitoring of WTO rules on agriculture and multilateral agriculture negotiations. Prior to the WTO, Dr. Jackson held various research roles including as a Research Fellow in the School of Economics at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and a researcher in the Environment Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC. 

Dr. Jackson completed her Ph.D. in applied economics at the University of Minnesota; has joint Master’s degrees in public and private management and environmental studies from Yale University.

MAY CHODCHOEY

May holds a PhD in Biotechnology from Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.  Prior to join APSA, she began her career in seed industry and had been managing the QC laboratories (Seed Physiology, genetic purity, and Seed health labs), quality assurance program and quality management system for both vegetable and corn seeds for the multinational seed company.

May is now the Executive Director of the Asia and Pacific Association. Her main focus is to guide the strategic plan for the organization and leading the knowledge transfer program by collaborating with the APSA committees and National seed associations in the region on plant variety protection, phytosanitary regulation and seed technology for vegetable and field crops.

ARTHUR SANTOSH ATTAVAR

Arthur Santosh Attavar is the Chairman & Managing Director of Indo-American Hybrid Seeds, India, Pvt Ltd, a family-owned seed company established in 1965 that pioneered the first hybrid vegetable seeds in the Indian market in 1973.

He is active in seed associations at both national, regional and international levels as member of the Board of Directors of the International Seed Federation (ISF); member of the Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA); Chair of the ISF Task Force for the United Nations Food Security Summit; member PPV & FRA Extant Variety Recommendation Committee (India); and member of African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), National Seed Association of India (NSAI) and Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII).

CSABA GASPAR

Csaba Gaspar is the Programme Manager of the OECD Seed Schemes. In this capacity he co-ordinates the implementation of the OECD’s  international seed varietal certification systems in the 61 participating countries of the Seed Schemes.

Mr Gaspar has an MSc in Horticulture with specialisation in Biotechology as well as an MSc in Geo-Information Systems (GIS).  He has 18 years of experiences in standardisation and certification of agricultural products such as agricultural seeds, fruits & vegetables, and forest reproductive materials.

Before joining the OECD in 2006 he worked for the National Food Chain Safety Office  of Hungary as inspector and coordinator of international relations. He was the Chair of the Specialised Session on Standardisation of Dry and Dried Produce  and Vice-Chair of the Working Party 7 on Agricultural Quality Standards of The United Nation Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 and 2006.

Franck Berger

Following graduation from the INA-PG Agricultural Engineering School (France) in 1982, Franck Berger gained initial experience in international development and in Production and Breeding of field crops before joining Clause Semences (vegetable seeds) in 1989.

After serving in various leadership positions at Clause, and upon the acquisition of the company  by Limagrain, he spent 6 years abroad as VP of Sales & Marketing for Harris Moran in Modesto (USA) and as Executive Vice President of Kyowa Seed in Tokyo (Japan).  Franck then was Director of Production and Supply Chain at HM.Clause in Valence before becoming its Deputy CEO  2011. 

In November 2015, he moved to Groupe Limagrain’s headquarters in Saint-Beauzire (France) and one year later was nominated CEO of the Vegetable seed division. He subsequently became a member of Groupe Limagrain’s Executive Committee. 

Franck recently served a 3-year term as President of UFS, the French national seed association (2016-2019) and remains its vice-president. He has been a member of the board of the ISF vegetable section since 2010 and since 2018 he represents France on the ISF Board.

Mary Ann P. Sayoc

Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc is the Public Affairs Lead of East West Seed International. She has 19 years of professional experience in the seed industry. She was former General Manager of East-West Seed Philippines, a Dutch company engaged in research, development, production and distribution of vegetable seeds. East-West Seed is market leader for tropical vegetable seeds in Asia and developing markets in Africa and Latin-America.

Dr. Sayoc is active in the local and international seed sector. She is currently the President of the Philippine Seed Industry Association. She is past president of the Asia & Pacific Seed Association (APSA). She has been elected to the Board of the International Seed Federation and is a member of the Breeders Committee, Sustainable Agriculture Committee and Vegetable and Ornamental Board of ISF.

She was a member of the Executive Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust (2013-2019), an international organization working to safeguard crop diversity, forever.

Prior to her stint in the private sector, Mary Ann had a long career in government. She held key positions in the Department of Agriculture as Training Center Superintendent of the International Training Center on Pig Husbandry, Executive Director of the Agricultural Training Institute and Regional Director DA RFU 4. She was a Career Executive Service Officer III when she left government service.

She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines.

She is married to Dr. Darwin G. Sayoc and they have four daughters.

Ruramiso Mashumba

Ruramiso Mashumba is a young female farmer from Marondera, Zimbabwe and founder of Mnandi Africa, an organization that helps rural woman combat poverty and malnutrition. She holds a BA Degree in Agriculture Business Management from the University of West England (UWE). After completing her degree, Ruramiso worked for one of the United Kingdom’s leading agriculture equipment companies. It was during that time Ruramiso realized how the use of equipment and technology could transform agriculture. She returned to Zimbabwe with a vision to change the image of agriculture in Zimbabwe. In 2012 she relocated to the farm she inherited from her parents and began her journey as a farmer. The farm was bare, with no equipment, but, today it is filled with tractors, planting equipment, centre pivot and crop protection equipment.

In 2013 she decided to venture into horticulture crops for export to the European Union and Africa. The following year saw her partnering with Sustainable Afforestation Association to address deforestation in her community by planting one hundred hectares of gum trees. She later expanded into farming a variety of horticulture crops and indigenous organic grains. She milled the grains into flour under the brand Mnandi organic and traditional brown rice and commercial maize. In 2017 Mashumba received a fifty-hectare contract to grow seed for Seed Co, an industry leader whose mandate is to breed, produce, process and market hybrid crop seeds.

Through Mnandi Africa, Ruramiso is empowering and equipping women with skills and knowledge in agriculture, nutrition, markets, and technology. The organization also assists them to access affordable and effective agro-technology through an input-sharing program. Thereby helps them to collectively purchase and sell their goods and services. In 2017, she pitched her organization to Echoing Green in New York and won their fellowship that offers support and seed funding to start-ups. Her application was one of the thirty that won out of a pool of three thousand globally. Mnandi Africa aims to, ultimately, end hunger and poverty in Zimbabwe.  

Peter Bakker

Mr Bakker has led WBCSD since 2012. WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. WBCSD member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than USD $8.5 trillion and with 19 million employees. 

Mr Bakker is a distinguished business leader who, until June 2011, served as CFO and then CEO of TNT NV, the global transport and logistics company. He has been recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award (2009) and the Sustainability Leadership Award (2010). Mr Bakker serves as a member of several corporate sustainability advisory boards. 

He received the royal order Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2018 in recognition of his long-lasting commitment to engaging business in tackling global sustainability issues. 

Michael Keller

Michael is a German national based in Nyon, Switzerland where the ISF headquarters is located. After his legal training at the University of Manheim, he completed a Master’s degree in European Law and post-graduate studies in Political Science.

Michael joined the French Senate (Paris, 1999) as Parliamentary Advisor then joined the Mayors Association of France as Head of European and International Affairs. He later became Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs at DuPont Pioneer (2008-2014). During this period Michael served in the Board of Directors of the Union Française des Semenciers (UFS).

As founder-member of the French seed trade association, Michael’s move to the International Seed Federation (ISF) was a natural progression. ISF represents the seed sector internationally, acting as the industry’s voice on global issues. As ISF Secretary General Michael brings extensive experience in agriculture and food chains and is a prolific speaker on public policy and regulatory issues.

Donald Coles

Donald Coles is the Chairman and Managing Director of Valley Seeds Pty Ltd, and President of the International Seed Federation. He is an Australian citizen and holds a Diploma in Farm Management, and a Master of Business Administration.

He combines extensive experience and understanding of the Australian and International agribusiness at senior management level with an extensive understanding of food and fibre production.

Donald owns Valley Seeds Pty. Ltd. which is a leading Australian seed company with a significant portfolio of forage and turf seed varieties and other seed brands.  This includes varieties bred by the company over which the company holds Plant Breeders Rights.  In the past the company has been investing in biotechnology and other related technologies in partnership with the University of Melbourne.

Donald was also founder of Access Genetics Pty Ltd.  Access Genetics specialized in breeding and evaluation of new varieties in cereal grain and other broad acre cropping species.  Access Genetics was sold to a wholly owned subsidiary of Nufarm Ltd, Nugrain Pty Ltd in late 2005 after a period of joint equity ownership. Nugrain was a Nufarm initiated consortium that also involved substantial shareholding from Landmark, Graincorp, Ausbulk and CBH until 2005.

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LORENA BASSO

Lorena is Argentinian based in Buenos Aires where BASSO SEMILLAS headquarters, a family company, is located

Finishing her degree in business at the catholic University (UCA) she begun working in different companies. During this period, she completed a MBA.

In 2000 she joined the family company being in charge of the commercial area. In 2011 she became president of Basso Semillas position that her father Carlos had for many years.

Having a strong commitment with the industry, Lorena is the first woman president of the Argentinian association ( ASA ); the same position in the regional Association SAA since last December.

CLAIRE DOOLE

As a former BBC correspondent (Brussels, Berlin, Geneva, London) and radio presenter, Claire Doole is skilled at driving conversations forward, ensuring editorial flow and generating audience interaction in the virtual and non-virtual world. She is a sought-after moderator, facilitator and Master of Ceremonies, having facilitated high-level international conferences attended by government ministers, business leaders and senior experts.

Since the start of the pandemic, Claire has moderated and acted as Master of Ceremonies at more than 30 virtual and hybrid events around the world. In Geneva and Brussels, she is highly regarded by international organization and multinational companies for her professional skill and delivery.

Claire moderated discussions with CEOs from the seed industry and on the sector’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals at the ISF Congress in Nice in 2019.

Claire trains in the art of moderating, public speaking, storytelling and talking to the media.

A British/Swiss national, based in Geneva, Claire is fluent in English and French.

DAVID ZARUK

David Zaruk is Professor in Communications and Marketing at Odisee University College in Brussels and an Environmental Health Policy Risk Analyst at Risk Perception Management. Since receiving his PhD in Philosophy (Louvain), David worked twelve years in chemicals issue management for Solvay, Cefic and Burson-Marsteller.

In 2001, he was one of the founders of GreenFacts, an Internet-based environmental-health risk communications tool (www.greenfacts.org). In the four years that David developed GreenFacts, he became a leading spokesperson in Brussels on expanding the role of research in policy decisions and the need for new means to communicate science to non-specialists.

His main concentrations today include stakeholder risk perception, reputation and trust communications, EU env-health policy, public understanding of chemicals and EU lobbying tools.

VIKTORIA DE BOURBON DE PARME

Viktoria leads the food transformation at WBA. She is responsible for the development and engagement of the Food & Agriculture Benchmark, making sure that the benchmark methodology reflects stakeholder expectations and that it is widely used. In addition, she works closely with the spotlight indices: Access to Seeds Index and Seafood Stewardship Index. Viktoria believes that business is at the center of the food systems transformation. The benchmark and the spotlight indices are crucial tools to measure progress and identify opportunities to realize more healthy, sustainable and equitable food systems.

Viktoria is a happy foodie and amateur gardener. She holds a Masters in International Business Transactions & Law from the Nyenrode Business University and the University of Amsterdam. She has worked as a corporate lawyer for Allen & Overy and legal advisor for Rabobank. Before joining WBA, Viktoria was an independent advisor convening multi-stakeholder partnerships to improve livelihoods, nutrition and environment within food systems.

KEVIN FOLTA

Kevin M. Folta is a professor of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida. From 2007 to 2010 he helped lead the project to sequence the strawberry genome, and continues to research photomorphogenesis in plants and compounds responsible for flavor in strawberries. Folta has been active as a science communicator since 2002, especially relating to biotechnology.

He has faced controversy over what his critics say are his industry connections. In 2017 he was elected as a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

JOZSEF MATE

József Máté is the Head of Communications, Europe of Corteva Agriscience, located in Geneva, Switzerland. In this role, he is responsible for designing and implementing Europe region’s strategies for business communications, employee communications, digital communications, media relations and issues management that are connected with global messages and regional business goals and needs.  

Most recently, he served as Communications Manager, Europe at DuPont Pioneer, and Eastern Europe Government, Public and Regulatory Affairs Manager at DuPont Pioneer.  

József first joined DuPont Pioneer in 2005. Prior to this, he worked as Public Affairs Consultant at Weber Shandwick in Hungary, and as a journalist at the Foreign Affairs and Economics Desk of Népszabadság, Hungary’s largest political daily.  

József earned a Master of Business Administration from the Szent István University, Hungary, a Master degree in Political Science from the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary, and a Bachelor degree in Economics from the Budapest Business School, Hungary.  

FRANCESCO DELL'ENDICE

ANDREEA POPA

Andreea is Romanian and has an international career. She completed her Business Administration degree in Rome, Italy and joined Syngenta in 2008, working in several countries, including Turkey, before joining the Seedcare team in April 2020.

She is proud to be part of an energetic, innovation-driven team that is close to our customers and is dedicated to making them successful.

JONATHAN BROWN

Jonty is the Head of Seedcare in Syngenta. He joined the legacy company Ciba in 1990 directly from University having studied Applied Biology in Nottingham, UK.  He had numerous commercial roles in the UK organization, starting as a salesman to growers and distributors and finishing as Head of UK Strategy, just prior to the merger of AstraZeneca and Novartis.

During this period, Jonty completed an MBA to broaden his skill set.  Jonty later joined Syngenta as EAME GTM and Arable Portfolio Head, moving from the UK to Basel, Switzerland in 2004. After these roles, he led the CP organization in the Benelux, the marketing and BD team of Cereals and DFC in the ICS, and then became the Head of Russia.

FRANZ FRANER

KRISTEL BURGEMEISTER

Kristel is the Global Head of the Seedcare Institute. She is Australian, has a family farming background and joined Syngenta in 2011. Kristel holds a Bachelor of Business & MBA from the University of Newcastle.

Kristel is passionate about the Seedcare business, working alongside the Seedcare team to deliver robust application and services as part of the P.A.S. (Product, Application & Service) offer.

The team are highly engaged, energetic and customer focused, making it a great place to work and very rewarding to be part of this winning team.

PALLE PEDERSEN

Palle is originally from Denmark and was born into a farming family. He moved to the US in 1998 where he obtained his PhD in Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his international MBA at Duke University. He joined Syngenta Seedcare in 2010 and is passionate about it because: 

Seeds are the most critical decision growers make every year. Protecting seeds’ genetic potential gives crops the best start, maximizing yield 

How can you not be passionate about giving the grower peace of mind and relief around his investment in a crop 

The Syngenta Seedcare pipeline looks incredible and will bring protection and yield benefits to a new level. 

FRANCINE SAYOC

Francine Sayoc joined the International Seed Federation in April 2019, based in Switzerland. Her 15 years as a communications professional spans both public and private sectors.

Her role at ISF is to support the organization’s key strategic objectives and to help the seed sector tell its story to the most relevant stakeholders which include policymakers, partners in the agricultural value chain, as well as its own members composed of national seed associations and seed companies.

Previously, Francine was Group Communications Manager of East-West Seed, a vegetable seed company based in Asia whose main clients are smallholder farmers in the tropics. Prior to that, she served as Media and Communications Director for a member of the Philippine Senate, where she gained firsthand knowledge in the most effective means of shaping policy and reforms: legislation, institution-building, and partnerships.

Francine has a background in Journalism, and a Master’s degree in International Studies obtained through a merit scholarship from the government of Spain.

MARCEL BRUINS

Marcel Bruins studied Plant Breeding at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, followed by a PhD award on Fusarium resistance in wheat.

He worked for 10 years with a vegetable seed company as Manager Plant Variety Protection. He then served for 7 years as Secretary-General of the International Seed Federation (ISF), lead the Secretariat of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) through a phase of transition and continued working as their Scientific Advisor.

Besides being the Editorial Director of the ‘European Seed’ magazine, he also operates as an independent consultant, helping out companies and non-profit organizations with their questions on seed, grain, trade facilitation, intellectual property and international outreach.

SZABOLCS RUTHNER

Szabolcs, a Hungarian national, graduated from Corvinus University in Budapest where he completed a Ph.D. degree in molecular plant breeding.

In 2004 he joined the Hungarian Seed Association (HSA) as professional assistant and in 2006 he was appointed to the position of Secretary General.

Since 2015 he works at the International Seed Federation as Regulatory Affairs Manager.

ERIC DEREUDRE

Eric Dereudre is International Government Affairs leader for Corteva Agriscience. In this role, he supervises the Government and Industry Affairs teams in all regions outside of North America.

Eric started his career in 1995 in France and has decades of experience in the agro-industry, with various managerial positions serving ag markets in Europe, Africa and globally.

Before joining the External Affairs function in 2020, he spent 25 years in commercial roles at Corteva and heritage company Dow AgroSciences. His last role in business management was Commercial Unit Leader for Northern Europe. This unit includes the seeds and crop-protection activities in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Benelux, Denmark, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.

During five years at the Dow Headquarters in Indianapolis, USA, 2010-2015, he took on a product management role and became Global Business Director for crop protection portfolios including the Enlist system and chemical assets.

In Europe, he served from 2016 to 2020 as President of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), the trade association bringing together 23 crop protection companies in the region.

Other roles include a voluntary position as Foreign Trade Advisor for the French External Affairs Ministry until 2020, president of the Indianapolis French language school Alliance Française from 2013-2014 and board member of Club Demeter, a French agricultural think-tank.

Eric graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie (ENSA) in Rennes, France, he also holds an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the University of Northwood in Michigan, USA.

Thanks to his education and personal links with the agricultural sector – including family farming operations in the North of France – Eric has an in-depth knowledge of agriculture. His experience and professional background have further strengthened his global vision of agricultural issues. Through involvement in professional associations and volunteering activities, Eric has put his knowledge and convictions at the service of a modern, competitive and sustainable European agriculture, by combining economical, societal and food-supply needs with agronomic constraints.

TRUELS DAMSGAARD

Experienced CEO and board member with a strong analytical and strategic approach. Solid experience in developing and managing a global corporation with focus on long-term value creation. Excellent business knowledge and good understanding of people. Setting very high ambitions, both professionally and personally.

Over the past 30 years, DLF has grown from a local seed company with production in Denmark and export to Northern Europe to a global seed company and the world’s leading marketeer of cool-season clover and grass seed species, as well as a leading player in sugar beet seed and also having a strong presence in the vegetable seed business and a foothold within the seed potato world.

The transition and growth have been achieved thanks to clear strategies and efficient execution, focus on profitability, and a trustful relationship with the board and the owners.

A major part of the strategy has been to expand the business through large relevant, global acquisitions and successful integration thereof, including a complete redesign of the governance structure to reflect the size and complexity of the business. The result is a global organisation, where profitability and long-term value creation are in focus and where a significant amount of responsibility has been delegated to the local management teams. Consistent evaluation and trimming of the value chain, together with an extensive breeding program applying both conventional breeding techniques and biotechnology methods, has made it possible to further strengthen DLF’s position in relevant markets and market segments.

Having shown an impressive annual growth rate of 11% over a period of 10 years, DLF now ranks seven in the global seed industry. The DLF group has an annual turnover of approx. EUR 1 million and over 2000 employees worldwide, more than one in ten of which work in R&D.

ERIK FYRWALD

Erik Fyrwald joined the Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading
agriculture companies, in June 2016 as Chief Executive Officer.

Erik Fyrwald served as chief executive officer of Univar, a leading distributor of chemistry and related services, from May 2012 until May 2016. In 2008, following a 27-year career at DuPont, he joined the Nalco Company, a leading water treatment products and services company, serving as chairman and chief executive officer until December 2011, when Nalco merged with Ecolab Inc. Following the merger, Erik Fyrwald served as president of Ecolab, a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies.

From 2003 to 2008, Erik Fyrwald served as group vice president of the agriculture and nutrition division at the DuPont Company. From 2000 until 2003, he was vice president and general manager of DuPont’s nutrition and health business.

Erik Fyrwald attended the University of Delaware, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1981. He also completed the advanced management program at Harvard Business School.

Erik Fyrwald serves on the boards of directors of Syngenta Group, Bunge, CropLife International, Eli Lilly, the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and the UN World Food Program Farm to Market Initiative. He is also Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.

Erik Fyrwald was born in the United States in 1959 and is an American citizen.

NICO HORN

Nico Horn is the Director-General of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) an inter-governmental organization with 52 member countries that supports National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs).

He is trained as plant pathologist at the Wageningen University and holds a PhD in plant virology. He worked as researcher and trainer in several Asian countries  including on seed transmission of viruses.

He also worked for over 20 years for the NPPO of the Netherlands on EU legislation and global harmonization in plant health. Amongst others he contributed to the development and implementation of the new EU plant health Regulation, development of electronic certificates and the international standards on movement of seeds (ISPM38).  

ROSE SOUZA-RICHARDS

Rose Souza Richards joined the International Seed Federation in in March 2020 and is the Seed Health Manager. She manages ISF efforts to promote a harmonized, scientific, and technically justified framework for phytosanitary regulations and for moving seed efficiently across international borders. She works on a wide range of aspects related to phytosanitary matters.

Together with ISF’s members, she is responsible for spearheading efforts to promote the implementation of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) in general and ISPM on the international movement of seeds.

Rose is the key point person for the international seed industry with the International Plant Protection Convention, and responsible for the coordination of an industry-wide response to WTO notifications on proposed changes to national phytosanitary regulations.

She also manages, develops, and promotes existing ISF activities such as the Systems Approach, the Regulated Pest List Initiative, and the International Seed Health Initiative.

Rose has spent the last five and a half years working at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand. She brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding about regulatory systems, particularly on the importation of seeds and the regulation of genetically modified organisms. She was engaged in different levels of coordination between the private sector and the national authorities and this not only in New Zealand but also beyond. Prior to working at MPI, she has published scientific papers on molecular virology and spent time in South Africa where she completed her post-doctoral study at the University of Stellenbosch, working with phytoplasmas on grapevine crops.

Rose has a BSc in Agronomic Engineering from the State University of Bahia, Brazil, an MSc in Plant Pathology from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, a second MSc in Plant Diversity from the University of Reading, UK and a PhD in Plant Molecular Virology from the University of Nottingham, UK.